Transport union TSSA has appointed Peter Pendle as its new Interim (joint) General Secretary to help lead the union following receipt of the Kennedy and Conley reports. Peter takes up the role from Monday 13 March and has been appointed on a short, fixed-term contract. A change management team is also being implemented.
Peter is an experienced trade unionist and leader, with decades of involvement within the trade union movement. He commenced his career with the British Rail Board and Sealink UK, subsequently moving into management roles in local government, post-16 and higher education. In 2001 he became Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Association for College Management (ACM) and took it into TUC membership. He led ACM’s merger with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in 2010, becoming its Deputy General Secretary.
Peter was subsequently the main architect of ATL’s amalgamation with the National Union of Teachers (NUT), creating the National Education Union (NEU), the largest education union in Europe. He was Deputy General Secretary of NEU until his retirement in 2021. Peter has extensive experience in leading national membership organisations, expertise in governance best practice and implementing change management. He continues to sit on Employment Tribunals.
Peter has identified three initial priorities for his work at TSSA:
- To oversee the implementation of both the Kennedy and Conley reports recommendations in full, with a particular focus on organisational culture and effective corporate governance;
- To review and update the TSSA strategic and operational plans;
- To take forward discussions with potential partners.
Commenting on his appointment, Peter Pendle said: “It has been a difficult and challenging time for TSSA, its staff and members. So, the first thing I’ll be doing is getting stability and trust back in place, meeting with staff, staff representatives and Executive Committee members.
“Both the Kennedy and Conley reports call for sweeping culture change and for TSSA to transition into a well-functioning organisation and I will be guided by that in my work at TSSA. I’m committed to ensuring the report recommendations are implemented in full and ensuring the union functions well for its members and staff.”
Peter has not worked for TSSA previously and so brings a fresh external perspective to the Association. He has knowledge of the union and transport industries, having been a TSSA member when he worked for British Rail and Sealink previously. His father and grandfather were both lifelong railway workers.
The TSSA Executive Committee approved his appointment following an extensive search for suitable candidates. The appointment does not negate the need for democratic elections for the substantive position of General Secretary. The role taken up is described as ‘joint’ as the former Interim General Secretary remains employed, albeit suspended pending investigation.
More information about the Kennedy Report, including progress updates, and details for support can be found on these pages.