GMB (trade union)

GMB (trade union)
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 - Britain's General Union
Founded March 31, 1889[1]
Members 600,000
Country United Kingdom
Affiliation TUC, ICTU, STUC, CSEU, Labour Party[2]
Key people Paul Kenny, general secretary
Office location London, England

The GMB is a general trade union in the United Kingdom, and has more than 600,000 members. Its members are drawn from many sectors, with particular strength amongst manual workers in local government and the health service. There are organised GMB branches at 34 of Britain's 50 largest companies.



The GMB originates from a merger of the National Amalgamated Union of Labour, National Union of General Workers and the Municipal Employees Association in 1924, named the National Union of General and Municipal Workers.

The union merged with many others including the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff (APEX), the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union and the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers.

In 1982, following a merger with the Amalgamated Society of Boilermakers, Shipwrights, Blacksmiths and Structural Workers, the union was renamed the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union, from the initials of which its present name is derived. The initials 'GMB' do not stand for just 'General, Municipal, Boilermakers'.

Political activity

The union is one of the three largest affiliates to the Labour Party in the UK alongside UNISON and Unite. It is a significant financial contributor to the party's national and local organisation.[3]

In 2008 GMB Congress voted to withdraw local funding from around a third of the 108 Labour MPs whose constituencies received support from the union, 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.[4] Despite this the Congress opposed disaffliation from the party.

GMB has 2 representatives on the National Executive NEC of the Labour Party; Mary Turner and Andy Worth. GMB's National Political Officer is Iain McNicol.[5]

In Ireland, the union is affiliated to the Irish Labour Party.[6]


The 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 alleged 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.

List of general secretaries of the GMB

Sports sponsorship

GMB are sponsors of Woking Football Club and the Nottingham Panthers ice hockey team. Until recently, they sponsored Swindon Town F.C., but they terminated the relationship when Paolo Di Canio, was appointed manager, showing what some people saw as "immaturity". Di Canio is known for his far-right wing political views.

See also


External links

Syndicalism.svg Organized labour portal

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