Manuel Cortes

Manuel Cortes (born 2 May 1967) is a British trade unionist who has served as the General Secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) since 2011.[1]

Cortes speaking at the 2016 Labour Party Conference

Early lifeEdit

Manuel Cortes (right) with Mick Whelan (left) and Paul Nowak at the Protest for an Affordable Railway under Public Ownership at London Waterloo in 2015

Cortes was born and raised in Gibraltar; while growing up, he never spoke English with his family.[2] He left school with no qualifications.[3]

He became an apprentice electrician, joined a local union, and gained technical qualifications from the Gibraltar and Dockyard Technical College. It allowed him to pursue further studies at a technical college in Kent. He studied Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, later becoming a full-time student representative. Later he would gain master's degrees in Optical Electronics, and also Business Economics from the University of Strathclyde. He studied Economics because he did not value the main beliefs of capitalism, which he views mostly as forms of greed.


Cortes' first job after university was for the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union (BIFU) that merged with the Barclays Group Staff Union and NatWest Staff Association in 1999 to become the UNIFI , then became part of Amicus in 2004. He worked for a year as a fundraiser for Amnesty International.[3]

Transport Salaried Staffs' AssociationEdit

In March 1998, Cortes joined the TSSA, the UK's second-largest rail union, and was formerly known as the Railway Clerks' Association, a white-collar union. On 15 November 2011, he was elected General Secretary for a five-year term. In December 2016, he was re-elected with 66% of the vote on a turnout of 19%.[4]

In 2015, Cortes endorsed Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party leadership election.[5]


  1. ^ Elgot, Jessica. "Leftwingers launch pro-EU campaign to shift Labour position on Brexit". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  2. ^ A Marxist case against Brexit: Trade union leader Manuel Cortes on what Labour should do, New Statesman, 22 February 2018
  3. ^ a b "Manuel Cortes: our new General Secretary". TSSA. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Gibraltarian wins second term at head of UK transport union". Gibraltar Chronicle. 2 December 2016. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  5. ^ Wilkinson, Michael (23 August 2016). "Bernie Sanders 'backs Jeremy Corbyn' in Labour leadership race". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2017.

External linksEdit

Trade union offices
Preceded by
Gerry Doherty
General Secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association
Succeeded by