Peter Pendle

UK: Peter Pendle has been appointed Interim (joint) General Secretary to help lead the TSSA union in the aftermath of publication of two reports into the organisation’s working culture following a series of scandals. A change management team is also being introduced.

Pendle took up the role on March 13 on a short fixed-term contract.

The Executive Committee approved his appointment following an ‘extensive search’ for suitable candidates. The union said this does not negate the need for democratic elections for the substantive position of General Secretary; the role is described as ‘joint’ as the former Interim General Secretary remains employed, albeit suspended pending investigation.

The union said Pendle has identified three priorities:

  • overseeing the full implementation of the recommendations of the Kennedy report into allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying at TSSA, and the Conley report into equality policy and practice;
  • to review and update strategic and operational plans;
  • to take forward discussions with potential union partners — merger talks with the GMB are scheduled to recommence in the week of March 20.

‘The first thing I’ll be doing is getting stability and trust back in place, meeting with staff, staff representatives and Executive Committee members’, he said. ‘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’,

Trade union background

Pendle began his career with British Rail and Sealink UK, when he was a TSSA member, moving into management roles in local government, post-16 and higher education.

In 2001 he became Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Association for College Management, taking it into TUC membership, and led ACM’s merger with the Association of Teachers & Lecturers in 2010, becoming its Deputy General Secretary. He was involved with ATL’s amalgamation with the National Union of Teachers to create the National Education Union, where he was Deputy General Secretary until his retirement in 2021.