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[1]
Founded 1924[2]
Members 631,000
Affiliation TUC, ICTU, STUC, CSEU, Labour Party[3]
Key people Tim Roache, General Secretary
Office location 22 Stephenson Way, London
Country United Kingdom

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 (GMWU).

GMB is the result of mergers with many others including the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff (APEX), Coopers' Federation of Great Britain (CFGB), Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union (FTAT), National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (NUTGW) and the Rubber, Plastic and Allied Workers' Union. 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'.

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]

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.


GMB is led by a General Secretary & 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.

General Secretaries[edit]


Deputy General Secretaries[edit]

1991: Tom Burlison
1996: Steve Pickering
2003: Debbie Coulter
2010: Post vacant

Sports sponsorship[edit]

The GMB are sponsors of the Nottingham Panthers ice hockey team[12] 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.".[13] They sponsored League One club Port Vale for the 2013–14 season.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ GMB's History
  3. ^ "TULO’s member unions". Retrieved 14 February 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ About TCU Money Thorne Credit Union (retrieved 21 February 2015)
  5. ^ Credit Union Guide Financial Services Compensation Scheme (retrieved 2 April 2015)
  6. ^ Party Finance - The Electoral Commission : Regulatory issues : Political parties : Registers : Register of donations to political parties
  7. ^ Hélène, Mulholland (14 February 2012). "GMB union to debate future links with Labour party". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "GMB set to cut Labour MP funding". BBC. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "GMB cuts funds it gives Labour from £1.2m to £150,000" BBC
  10. ^ Party structure » Who we are » The Labour Party Archived 3 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ GMB Communications Department
  12. ^ "The Official Website of the Nottingham Panthers". Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Swindon sponsor pulls out after Paolo Di Canio appointment". The Guardian. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Valiants strike up a new union". The Sentinel. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 

External links[edit]