GMB (trade union)
|Affiliation||TUC, ICTU, STUC, CSEU, Labour Party|
|Key people||Tim Roache, General Secretary|
|Office location||22 Stephenson Way, London|
GMB is a general trade union in the United Kingdom which has more than 631,000 members. GMB members work in nearly all industrial sectors, in retail, security, schools, distribution and the utilities, social care, the NHS and ambulance service and local government.
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 (NUGMW). Although the new union was one of the largest in the country, it grew relatively slowly over the following decades, perhaps due to its image as being on the right wing of the labour movement. This changed in the 1970s, when David Basnett created new sections for staff, and hotel and catering workers, and changed the union's name to the General and Municipal Workers' Union (GMWU) in 1974.
GMB is the result of mergers with many others, although until the 1980s, most unions merging in were small. 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, which was officially adopted in 1987, is derived, although the abbreviation had been used since 1982. For several years following the highly contested merger boilermaker members retained a distinct identity in GMB's 'Craft Section'.
The union has absorbed the following smaller unions:
- 1924: Chatham Government Labourers' Union, St Helens Sheet Glass Flatteners' Trade Protection Society
- 1929: Cumberland Iron Ore Miners and Kindred Trades Association
- 1931: Cleveland Ironstone Quarrymens' Association, North Yorkshire and Cleveland Miners' Association
- 1933: Saw Grinders Trades Protection Society of Sheffield
- 1934: Amalgamated National Union of Quarryworkers and Settmakers
- 1935: Southern Counties Agricultural and Rural Workers
- 1936: National Society of Woolcombers and Allied Trades, Welsh Artisans' United Association
- 1938: Saw Handle Makers' Trade Society of Sheffield
- 1946: Aircraft Inspectors' Association, National Edge Tool Trade Society
- 1955: South Durham and North Yorkshire Salt Makers' Union
- 1957: National Cutlery Union
- 1958: British Airways Administrative Staffs Association
- 1962: Elastic Web Weavers' Union
- 1964: Amalgamated Union of File Trades, Ulster Transport and Allied Operatives Union
- 1965: Stoke Prior Salt Makers', Mechanics' and General Labourers' Union
- 1966: HM Stationery Staff Machine Association
- 1968: Scottish Metal Workers' Union, Scottish Operative Glaziers' Society, Wool, Yarn and Warehouse Workers' Union
- 1969: Union of Salt, Chemical and Industrial General Workers, Winsford Salt Makers
- 1972: Manchester Warehouse Employees Association, National Union of Waterworks Employees
- 1974: BSR Staff Association, National Pen Workers' Federation, United Rubber, Plastic and Allied Workers' Union
- 1975: Scottish Football Players' Union
- 1979: Coopers and Allied Workers' Federation of Great Britain
- 1982: Amalgamated Society of Boilermakers, Shipwrights, Blacksmiths and Structural Workers, Northern Ireland Professional Footballers' Association
- 1983: Scottish Textile Workers' Union
- 1986: Amalgamated Textile Warehouse Operatives (two branches), Amalgamated Textile Workers' Union (plus eight affiliates)
- 1988: Greater London Staff Association
- 1989: Association of Professional, Executive and Computer Staff, Association of Professional Music Therapists
- 1990: Legal Aid Staff Association, National Union of Labour Organisers
- 1991: Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union, National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers
- 1998: British Gas Managers' Association
- 2000: Managerial and Professional Organisation
- 2002: International Union of Sex Workers
- 2007: General Union of Loom Overlookers
- 2015: Unity
Thorne Credit Union
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. 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.
Landmark Uber employment tribunal case
On 28 October 2016, in a landmark ruling if not overturned on appeal, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are "workers" entitled to the minimum wage, paid holiday, sick leave and other normal worker entitlements, rather than self-employed. Two Uber drivers had brought the case to the employment tribunal with the assistance of the GMB Union on 20 July 2016, as a test case on behalf of a group of 19 drivers. As a consequence, The Pensions Regulator is considering if the ruling obliges Uber to create a workplace pension scheme. The ruling could have implications wider than just Uber, throughout the so-called gig economy.
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. 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.
In 1991, GMB was the first British trade union to set up an office in Brussels and has been particularly engaged in seeking to influence European Union legislation that sets minimum standards for workers and for health and safety across the EU single market.
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. Despite this the Congress opposed disaffiliation 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.
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.
GMB is led by a General Secretary and Treasurer. 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, Paul Kenny was elected unopposed as general secretary.
Tim Roache was elected in the 2015 and took over in 2016.
- 1924: William James Thorne, CBE
- 1934: Charles Dukes, 1st Baron Dukeston
- 1946: Tom Williamson, Baron Williamson
- 1962: Jack Cooper, Baron Cooper of Stockton Heath
- 1973: David Basnett
- 1986: John Edmonds
- 2003: Kevin Curran
- 2005: Paul Kenny
- 2016: Tim Roache
Deputy General Secretaries
- 1991: Tom Burlison
- 1996: Steve Pickering
- 2003: Debbie Coulter
- 2010: Post vacant
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.". They sponsored League One club Port Vale for the 2013–14 season.
- History of trade unions in the United Kingdom
- List of UK unions
- List of trade unions
- Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff
- G.M.B. National College, Manchester
- Credit unions in the United Kingdom
- GMB's History
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- Arthur Marsh and John B. Smethurst, Historical Directory of Trade Unions, vol.5, p.486
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- About TCU Money Thorne Credit Union (retrieved 21 February 2015)
- Credit Union Guide Financial Services Compensation Scheme (retrieved 2 April 2015)
- "Drivers and campaigners hail Uber employment ruling". BBC News. 28 October 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
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- Between (1) Mr Y Aslam (2) Mr J Farrar & Others and (1) Uber B.V. (2) Uber London Ltd (3) Uber Britannia Ltd (PDF) (Report). Employment Tribunals. 28 October 2016. Case Nos: 2202550/2015 & Others. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
- Hilary Osborne (28 October 2016). "Uber loses right to classify UK drivers as self-employed". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
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- Costas Pitas (28 October 2016). "UK tribunal rules Uber drivers deserve workers' rights". Reuters. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
- Party Finance - The Electoral Commission : Regulatory issues : Political parties : Registers : Register of donations to political parties
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- "GMB cuts funds it gives Labour from £1.2m to £150,000" BBC
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- "Swindon sponsor pulls out after Paolo Di Canio appointment". The Guardian. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
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