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#MeTU Campaign Page

Sisters To The Front

What is #MeTU?

 

#MeTU is a trade union specific reference to the wider #MeToo social movement against sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape culture. The phrase "Me Too" was initially used in this context on social media in 2006, by sexual assault survivor and activist Tarana Burke.

The purpose of "Me Too", as initially voiced by Burke as well as those who later adopted the tactic, is to empower sexually assaulted people through empathy and solidarity, through strength in numbers and by visibly demonstrating how many have experienced sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

The purpose therefore of #MeTU is to be inspired by those women who have gone before us and carry those tactics forward with trade union employers. We have been left with no choice but to draw attention to the fact that many of us employed by trade unions are not safe in our workplaces and further, we face the additional barrier of ‘shaming’ the movement if we speak out, because politically we are not supposed to wash our dirty linen in public. Shamefully, our employers have taken advantage of that loyalty and commitment to the movement.

This has been the subject of a number of Sisters to the Front network events in the past and resulted in the drafting of a Charter for Trade Union employers and enabling motions that can be seen here.

The origins of the #MeTU hashtag can be traced back to the @CoatsDangerous twitter account with a tweet in 2020 linked to the sexual harassment and violence allegations against the General Secretary of the GMB at the time. The original thread can be read here.

 

Since then, a specific #MeTU campaign has started alongside Reel News with a video launching their campaign and online meetings. 

#MeTU Allegations of Sexual Violence in the TU Movement: Support the Campaign

 

Some of you may be aware of the recent Reel News video released online last week, which contains powerful testimony from one of our members Claire Laycock. A link to the video is copied below, but we do circulate this with a *Trigger Warning* for sexual violence and abuse. 

#MeTU: Reel News Video on TSSA Sexual Harassment Allegations.

Claire's testimony set out allegations of a culture of sexism, sexual harassment and drunkenness in the trade union movement: of sexual harassment of staff and others by the General Secretary of the TSSA; of verbal harassment by other senior figures of bullying, harassment and grievances being covered up and silenced by senior management; and of staff being bullied and performance managed out of their jobs, ending with termination agreements in which they cannot speak out. 

 

The TSSA went to the high court to seek injunctions against Reel News for releasing and publishing the video and personally against Claire for breach of her NDA.

 

On Wednesday 11 May, a high court Judge threw the injunction out against Reel News and their publisher (excellently represented by the NUJ) and ordered TSSA to pay costs. It means that the video can permanently stay online, and we can share it and discuss the allegations within it. 

 

This is a huge victory, but there is still a way to go and we need all trade union members and those who work for trade unions in particular to play their part in the next steps of the campaign.

 

Following the release of the video we are hearing of further allegations, as more women from across the trade union movement feel emboldened to reach out as a result of Claire’s incredible bravery.

#MeTu - How to join the campaign

 

Following the release of the video,  we are hearing of further allegations, as more women from across the trade union movement feel emboldened to reach out as a result of Claire’s incredible bravery.

 

You can do that by:

 

  • Tweeting in support by using the hashtags #MeTU #IStandWithClaire #TimesUp and retweeting @sisters2front tweets which details the case

  • Follow and support the #MeTU Twitter account, @MeTuWomen

  • Encourage other sisters in the movement to sign up and support the campaign. 

  • Submit the Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Trade Unions Model Motion to your Trade Union branch which calls upon your employer and your own national trade union to implement the General Secretaries' Charter and best practice reporting and investigation procedures. Keep us informed of progress. 

  • Signing up to join the Sisters to the Front Network where there will be opportunities to support the campaign and join the lobby of the high court in a few weeks time when her case will be heard. 

  • Contribute to the fighting fund for the #MeTU movement here: Solidarity fundraiser to support women speaking out. 

  • Keep an eye out for the #MeTU sisters to the front solidarity T-shirts and badges which will be available for pre-order soon. All proceeds to go to the #MeTU fundraiser (above) 

Further help and support can be accessed here on our webpage

To share your story in complete confidence, email info@reelnews.co.uk

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