TSSA elects Women President and Treasurer in “historic” first. 

Pictures of two women trade unionists, side by side. On the left, Melissa Heywood, a white woman with brown hair in a hi-vis vest holding a large sign saying "Official Picket". On the right, Mary Sithole a black woman with a natural hair style, smiles at the camera. She is wearing a black and white dress, with a black jacket and seated at a table with a white table cloth and pink formal tablewear.

TSSA members have voted to elect the union’s first all-female President and Treasurer team.  

Melissa Heywood has been elected as President and Mary Sithole as Treasurer in the elections which are the first since the publication of the Kennedy report, the independent inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying within TSSA. 

Mary Sithole will also be the first black woman elected to the Treasurer position. 

Whilst TSSA has previously elected female Presidents and Treasurers the union has never had women serving in both offices at the same time. 
Their election was welcomed by Interim President Marios Alexandrou, who said, “This is an historic occasion for our union as we seek to implement changes to our culture after some challenging times. 

“The new President and Treasurer are talented and committed people and I have no doubt they will be huge assets as we move forward. My congratulations to both on their victories. 

“Clearly our membership has been fully engaged in this election process and that is another positive sign for all who have our union's best interests at heart.” 

All newly elected Executive Committee members, and the new President and Treasurer, will receive governance training before taking up their seats in line with recommendations in the Kennedy Report. 

Meet the Team: 

Melissa Heywood has been elected as TSSA President. She will take office from 1 July 2023 and serve a two-year term of office. 

Melissa has been a TSSA member since 2007 and served as an Executive Committee member for the Midlands since 2018. Melissa works as Route Operations Controller for East Midlands Railway. She is a Health and Safety Rep, Joint Safety Council Rep and a qualified tutor. 

Commenting on her election, Melissa said, “"Thank you to all members who showed their faith in change by voting for me. Your vote demonstrates that you trust me to continue to progress and grow our Union, and I cannot thank you enough for that.  

“I pledge to set plans for recruitment and retention. I will also focus on implementing an improved education programme for our Reps and on supporting local campaigns in your workplaces." 

Mary Sithole has been elected as TSSA Treasurer. She will take office from 1 July 2023 and serve a two-year term of office.   

Mary has been a TSSA member since 2002. Mary is currently an Equality Rep, Union Learning Rep and Health and Safety Rep in c2c and is the secretary of E-Mix (the Self-Organising Group representing Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities members within TSSA). 

Mary said, “I deeply appreciate the vote of confidence that members have placed in me to serve as the Treasurer for our union 

“This election gives me the opportunity to work with you all to continue to restore and rebuild our union and grow our membership. I am committed to continuing the work that is already underway in relation to implementing the recommendations in the Kennedy and Conley reports. Together we will create a safe, diverse and inclusive union 

May I take this opportunity to reaffirm my pledge to you. I am committed to working with our membership in an open and transparent manner to rebuild our union and ensure that TSSA activities and funds are managed responsibly and presented in a timely manner.” 


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