Police investigate claims GMB union boss ‘had a casting couch culture’ and was ‘sexist and aggressive’ towards young female employees

  • An anonymous letter, believed to be from a union worker, was sent to GMB
  • Tim Roache, 58, stepped down from his role of secretary for health reasons
  • The letter claimed Mr Roache was ‘sexist’ and led a ‘casting-couch’ culture 
  • He has since condemned the ‘outrageous’ allegation as a ‘smear campaign’

GMB’s former leader has been accused of running a ‘sexist and aggressive casting couch culture’ as head of Britain’s third-largest union.

An anonymous letter, believed to be from a union worker, was sent to the organisation last month just before Tim Roache, 58, stepped down from his role as General Secretary for health reasons.

He has since condemned the ‘outrageous’ allegations, including that he was an alleged cocaine-user, and said they were part of a ‘politically motivated smear campaign’, reported The Times.

An anonymous letter, believed to be from a union worker, was sent to the organisation last month just before Tim Roache (pictured in January), 58, stepped down from his role as General Secretary for health reasons

The letter claimed Mr Roache led a ‘casting-couch’ culture and gave young women he was in a relationship with a boost within the organisation.

Mr Roache’s wife Mandy works at the union’s Wakefield branch in West Yorkshire. The couple’s family home is in Leeds but Mr Roache spends most of his week at GMB HQ in London. 

A QC has been appointed to lead an investigation into the allegations. 

A statement issued after a meeting of the union’s executive on Friday said: ‘The need for a full, transparent and independent investigation following a number of very serious allegations made by way of anonymous correspondence received by the union has been agreed.

He has since condemned the ‘outrageous’ allegations, including that he was an alleged cocaine-user, and said they were part of a ‘politically motivated smear campaign’, reported The Times. Pictured in February last year

‘A recommendation was made to – and agreed by – GMB’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) members last week that this investigation should be a fully independent one.

‘The CEC met again today to determine the scope of this investigation and has determined that Karon Monaghan QC be formally instructed to undertake the investigation and make recommendations.

‘We have no doubt that our union will emerge from this stronger.

‘We will, now and always, continue with our mission as a campaigning union to improve the lives of our members and ensure all our people are proud to say they’re GMB.’

Mr Roache joined the GMB in the postal room in 1979. He was appointed General Secretary in 2015 and re-elected in November.

He has since been diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, a chronic fatigue syndrome that previously forced him to take a two-year leave of absence. 

Of the claims he has said: ‘The allegations are entirely made up with the intention of totally discrediting me. With no names of the accusers I have no opportunity to challenge and prove my entire innocence.’ 

John Phillips, GMB regional secretary for Wales and South West, has become union’s acting General Secretary until a replacement for Mr Roache is elected.

The union is considering a process and timetable for that election, which will be held as soon as practically possible.

Mr Roache stood down just months after he was re-elected as the union’s leader in November.

Under his leadership the GMB backed Lisa Nandy in the race to become Labour leader in January this year. He described her as ‘a breath of fresh air’.

Following the election of Sir Keir to replace Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Roache called for the party to start a ‘new chapter’, adding: ‘We need to leave behind the infighting and navel-gazing and get on with being a government in waiting.’ 

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