How We Work
How GMB Union works
We’ve been around for over 130 years, and one fact that has remained throughout that time is that GMB is run by members for members.
GMB is your union. Our structures, staff and resources are there to support members to organise in your own workplaces - you know best what needs to change and why. Some members choose to pay their subscription and get in touch when they need us, other want to get more involved in campaigns, training and practically representing members.
Before reading this is might be useful to read our glossary of abbreviations by clicking here
There is only one post in GMB that is elected by an all member ballot, and that is the General Secretary. The General Secretary is the most senior position in the union and runs the union on behalf of the members on a day to day basis.
The General Secretary has responsibility for GMB's industrial and policy work, as well as being GMB's senior executive manager.
Your branch will either be directly in your workplace, or be made up of a number of workplaces in your local area. It’s run democratically with an elected Branch Secretary, committee and reps. This will usually be your first port of all if you have a problem.
Your representatives – or reps – are members like you who have asked for training to be more active in GMB and your workplace. All GMB reps get training on key areas such as employment law, how to represent fellow members in a grievance and heath and safety. GMB’s reps really are on the frontline helping members on a day to day basis, if you have a rep in your workplace that's who to go to if you need help.
Every branch and your branch reps are supported by an officer or organiser who is a full-time, paid staff member.
National GMB is broken down into nine regions and a National Office. Each Region has staff and is run by a Regional Secretary.
GMB can also be broken down by industrial section. Based at National Office are the National Secretaries and National Officers for each of the three broad industrial sections our members work across: Commercial Services, Manufacturing (including Fine Manufacturing) and Public Services.
Every 4 years, GMB elects a Central Executive Council – the CEC. Only members, not staff, can stand to be on the CEC. The CEC makes sure that the union is run democratically and always in the interest of GMB members.
GMB Congress is held annually and it is where the lay member ruling body of the union decides GMB policy on all issues. GMB Congress 2024 will be held in the Bournemouth International Centre commencing Sunday 9th June 2024.
This is how to get involved if you want to attend GMB Congress or put forward a motion to make GMB policy. To attend you must be nominated by your branch, and be a paid-up member for 53 weeks.
Every GMB branch is entitled to submit motions to Congress and in alternate years rule amendments. These must be received at the Regional Office by 31 January each year. Emergency motions can be submitted at any time after 31 January up to and including during Congress week.
Every GMB branch may nominate a member for election and appointment to represent the Region at Congress and these nominations must be received at the regional office by 31 December each year. Voting by branches for the election of Congress delegates is held during January and February. Close of voting is 28 February each year.
GMB is governed by its Rulebook and every member of GMB is bound by the rules set out in the book.
GMB rules are made by GMB members and determine the structure, democracy and constitution of the union. The Rulebook also details arrangements for GMB's Full Time Officials, Regions, Finance, Branches and contributions and benefits.
Every second GMB Congress has the status of a 'rule amendment Congress' which means that ordinary GMB members can seek to change the union's rules via amendments submitted through their Branches. The union's Governing body - the Central Executive Council - can propose rule amendments which are voted on by GMB members at any GMB Congress.
The GMB Rulebook covers every aspect of the work of GMB and how its lay democracy works. If you are a GMB member and would like a copy of the rulebook or other files please contact your Regional Office or click the button below to download PDF versions. If you require the rulebook in another format such as large print please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The rules include amendments made at Congress 2023 and which come into force on 1 July 2023, unless it says otherwise.
GMB Transfers of Engagements
The following sub-Rules contain the terms and conditions upon which the National Union of General and Municipal Workers or GMBATU became the Transferee Union of the Transfers of Engagements therein referred to.
Annual Statement to the members of GMB
Report of the Auditors to the Members of the GMB.
General Member Auditors 2022
Civica report detailing the results for the Election of three General Member Auditors 2022.
Affiliations agreed by the CEC Finance & General Purposes Committee 2021/2022:
ANTI ACADEMIES ALLIANCE
CLASS - CENTRE LABOUR SOCIAL STUDIES
CONFEDERATION OF SHIPBUILDING AND ENGINEERING (CSEU)
CUBA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN
END CHILD POVERTY
FREEDOM FOR OCALAN
GENERAL FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (GFTU)
IRISH CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS (ICTU)
JUSTICE FOR COLUMBIA
LABOUR UNIONS (TULO)
LABOUR RESEARCH DEPARTMENT (LRD)
NATIONAL PENSIONERS CONVENTION
NICARAGUA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN
PENSIONS INVESTMENT RESEARCH CONSULTANTS
RAINBOW INTERNATIONAL FUND
THE HOWARD LEAGUE FOR PENAL REFORM
THE INSTITUTE OF EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS
THE LABOUR PARTY
TRADES UNION CONGRESS (TUC)
TRADE JUSTICE MOVEMENT
WESTERN SAHARA CAMPAIGN
WORKING CLASS MOVEMENT LIBRARY
How we organise
The independent investigation into sexual harassment at GMB has concluded.
GMB wants to thank everyone who made submissions, gave evidence and spoke to Karon Monaghan QC, who conducted the independent investigation.
We know that coming forward may have been incredibly difficult, but all your contributions will help GMB become a better, safer and more inclusive organisation in the future.
The report makes difficult reading and highlights a number of serious issues that our union must face up to and tackle.
GMB fights for equality, inclusion and social justice for all. It is clear from this report that our union is not living up to the values we aspire to for our members in their workplaces.
As the report says, fundamental change is required if GMB is to meet its promise to women in the union and to women in society more widely.
The union will take time to thoroughly understand this report and its recommendations and to assess the actions that need to be taken to deliver the level of transformational change in our culture and ways of working that are clearly required. Our Central Executive Council (CEC) will make this a priority.
We have published the entire report because transparency is needed and - it is owed to those who have a stake in GMB.
GMB members have been organising and fighting for workers’ rights for over 130 years, and there’s a lot that we can be proud of. However, having commissioned this report, now is the time that we must reaffirm our commitment to equality and inclusion for all, a union that truly lives by the values that we all hold close to our hearts.
Barbara Plant, GMB National President said:
"Karon's report makes sad and difficult reading. On behalf of GMB, I apologise to all those who have experienced sexual harassment or bullying within the union.
“It’s clear that real and lasting change is needed for us to become a safe and inclusive place for all.
“Under the leadership of the Central Executive Council, the union will now act on the report's recommendations. We are committed to achieving this transformational change."
The Survivors Trust safe space phone line remains available to all members and staff (current and former) who need a safe space to talk about sexual harassment or assault, bullying or victimisation. The line is completely free and completely confidential - you can remain anonymous if you wish and none of your information will be fed back to GMB.
For more details of the GMB Confidential Helpline and Online Support Service please click here