GMB (trade union)

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 This is an old logo which is no longer used - White capital letters spell "GMB" on an orange background, where the "M" is used as the legs on two stick figures drawn with thinner lines. Below is the text "Britain's General Union".
Full name GMB
Founded 31 March 1889[1]
Members 631,000
Affiliation TUC, ICTU, STUC, CSEU, Labour Party[2]
Key people Paul Kenny, General Secretary
Office location London, England
Country United Kingdom

GMB is a general trade union in the United Kingdom, and has more than 631,000 members. GMB members work in near all industrial sectors, with many working in retail, security, schools, distribution and the utilities, social care, NHS and the ambulance service and local government.

The number of GMB members has grown by 56,000 since 2005 after many years of declining membership. the growth is the result of the GMB@WORK policy, a programme of national and regional targets that are selected through special criteria known as AIM.


GMB originates from a series of mergers, beginning when the National Amalgamated Union of Labour (NAUL), National Union of General Workers (NUGW) and the Municipal Employees Association in 1924 joined into a new union, named the National Union of General and Municipal Workers.

GMB is the result of mergers with many others including the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff (APEX), the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union (FTAT) and the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (NUTGW). In 1982, following a merger with the Amalgamated Society of Boilermakers, Shipwrights, Blacksmiths and Structural Workers (ASBSBSW), the union was renamed the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union, from the initials of which its present name is derived.

Thorne Credit Union[edit]

Thorne Credit Union Limited is a savings and loans co-operative established by the trade union for its members in 1998. Trading as TCU Money, it began life as GMB Lancashire Region Credit Union and was rolled out nationwide in 2000.[3] TCU is named after Will Thorne, founder of NUGW forerunner, the National Union of Gas Workers and General Labourers and one of the first Labour Members of Parliament. The credit union is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the PRA. Ultimately, like the banks and building societies, members’ savings are protected against business failure by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Political activity[edit]

GMB is one of the three largest affiliates to the Labour Party. It is a significant financial contributor to the Party's national and local organisation.[4] GMB gives Labour invests up to £2m a year in affiliation fees and other funds, making it the third largest union donor to the party.[5]

In 2008 GMB Congress voted to withdraw local funding from around a third of the 108 Labour MPs whose constituencies received support from GMB, due to the perception that some MPs within the party were treating workers with "contempt" and generally not working in the interests of the working class and GMB members.[6] Despite this the Congress opposed disaffliation from the party.

In 2013 GMB announced it was cutting its affiliation fund from £1.2m to £150,000 by reducing the number of members it affiliates from 420,000 to 50,000.[7]

In 2013 GMB Congress, the lay member ruling body, adopted a 14 point plan to encourage GMB members to become active in the Labour Party and to stand as Labour candidates for public office (Parliament and local government).

GMB has two representatives on the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party; Mary Turner and Cath Speight.

In Ireland, GMB is affiliated to the Irish Labour Party.[8]


GMB is led by a general secretary. In 2005, Paul Kenny was appointed the acting general secretary, in place of Kevin Curran who stepped down after being suspended on full pay during an inquiry into ballot-rigging during the union's leadership election. The episode was seen as a power struggle between the national office and powerful regional heads, led by Kenny, who opposed centralisation. Kenny had lost the 2003 vote to Curran. In May 2006, Kenny was elected unopposed as general secretary.

General secretaries[edit]

Sports sponsorship[edit]

GMB are sponsors of the Nottingham Panthers ice hockey team[9] and the Castleford Tigers Rugby League team.

Until May 2011 they sponsored Swindon Town Football Club, but when Paolo Di Canio was appointed manager they terminated the relationship because of his political views. A GMB spokesman said "He has openly voiced support for Mussolini so it beggars belief that Swindon could have appointed him, especially given the multi-ethnic nature of the team and the town.".[10] They sponsored League One club Port Vale for the 2013–14 season.[11]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]