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Dear Branch Secretary/Trades Council Secretary,
We are writing to draw your attention to the #meTU campaign and request your support in challenging sexual harassment in the Trade Union movement.
#MeTU are a group of women and non-binary people committed to ending sexism, sexual harassment, violence, and bullying in the trade union and labour movement. Many of us are survivors of sexual violence, misogyny and harassment. All of us are active in the trade union movement, and many of us work for or are former employees of trade union employers.
#MeTU have been meeting online since April 2022. Our campaign took off spectacularly when Claire Laycock spoke out about the harassment and violence she experienced as an organiser in both the GMB and later TSSA (https://reelnews.co.uk/2022/05/07/all-reelnews-campaigns/justice-campaigns/metu-tssa-general-secretary-faces-sexual-harassment-allegations/)
As a result of Claire's testimony, there is an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying within TSSA, which Helena Kennedy KC is conducting. Full details here: https://www.tssa.org.uk/about-tssa/our-union/independent-inquiry
#MeTU is a grassroots movement based on action. We meet regularly as sisters to speak about our experiences as women and as workers in the trade union movement. We know that the problem of misogyny and sexual harassment is endemic. Far too many of us have experienced bullying, harassment and sexual violence in the very place, which is meant to be about equality and social change.
#MeTU brings sisters together to take action and use leverage to change the movement for good. We seek to build solidarity and provide space for sisters to speak out, tell their stories and be believed.
We are calling on all those involved in the trade union movement to support the #meTU campaign and actively challenge and confront sexual harassment, bullying and sexism in the trade union movement and its structures.
Join us in demanding:
- That independent and transparent inquiries are conducted into structural sexism, harassment and bullying, similar to the Monaghan report into sexual harassment and the management of sexual harassment complaints within the GMB, including collusion and complicity by staff employed by unions;
- That Trade Unions drop the use of Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to silence women victims of sexual harassment, and other cases which would normally merit whistleblowing and commit to justice for all those previously silenced by NDAs:
- That Trade Unions commit to training in conjunction with survivors and women's groups or all staff and reps and members;
- That motions be heard, and #meTU fringe meetings be held at all trade union and labour movement conferences.
- That Trade Unions Adopt the Sisters to the Front Sexual Violence Charter and make an action plan for transformative change and democracy in our unions
In collaboration with Sisters to the Front, General Secretaries Jo Grady of UCU and Sarah Woolley of BFAWU, (www.https:sisterstothefront.org.uk) have developed the Sexual Violence Charter for Trade Union Employers.
The charter demands:
There is no detriment to reporting incidents of sexual harassment or violence or supporting a colleague to do so.
Establish a safe reporting system to encourage quick and honest reporting in line with survivors' wishes.
An immediate review of internal staff processes relating to sexual harassment or violence and consideration of external expert audits where necessary.
Mandatory training for all staff and activists to establish and embed a zero-tolerance culture.
No use of NDAs or Settlement Agreements to cover up or as an alternative to investigating cases of sexual harassment or violence.
Workers subject to sexual harassment or violence are to be fully supported by their employer and offered access to and time off to attend specialist support should they wish to.
Ways to support;
Circulate details of our campaign to branch members.
Pass a motion of support of the #meTU campaign.
Call on your trade union to support the Sisters to the Front Charter.
We are currently seeking funds to support the #meTU campaign and ask trade union branches and trades councils to consider supporting the campaign by making a financial donation.
Funds will be used to: book meeting rooms, pay for transport for sisters to attend meetings, and produce campaign and educational materials.
When donating, please reference the donation as MeTU and drop us a line at email@example.com to register your support and assistance.
BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS:
Bank Account Name: Preston and District Workers Memorial Day Committee
Bank Account No: 65190560
Bank Sort Code: 08-92-99
Thank you in advance.