How We Work
The GMB@WORK National Organising Strategy and the training for GMB Workplace Organisers is built on five policies.
National Organising Strategy
GMB Workplace Organising is about being good at recruitment, retention and representation. GMB's goal is the strongest possible GMB organisation in every workplace where GMB Workplace Organisers are experts at recruiting new members, representing members and keeping members in GMB.
In these workplaces GMB members are in control of GMB and set the agenda collectively, speaking with one voice not many. GMB Workplace Organisers know more than their employer does about who is coming and going and how the workplace is organised.
The GMB@WORK National Organising Strategy and the training for GMB Workplace Organisers is built on five policies:
1. The workplace is the building block of GMB
The workplace is where GMB is best able to protect members and improve their working conditions. Campaigning, media work, legal work and political work in GMB offices and in Whitehall and Westminster are important but they can’t deliver for our members if the union is weak and ineffective in the workplace.
2. Each workplace should be organised as if a ballot for action was due
On the rare occasions when employers don’t listen to GMB and members want to ballot for industrial action, GMB must be highly organised to meet with all the legal requirements. This means GMB has confirmed that all GMB members’ home addresses are known, they are fully paid up, regular members' meetings are held and regular GMB newsletters are distributed and non-members are being approached to join to support GMB action. GMB policy is to aim to organise every workplace like this, every day.
3. The employer has different interests than our members
GMB will sometimes make common cause with an employer to get more funding from government in public services for example. But GMB recognises that on a day to day basis it is the bosses who employ GMB members who cause most of their problems and that people join us to resolve those problems.
4. It is the process of industrial relations that builds the union not the result
No one joins GMB out of gratitude for a good pay deal in the past or for protecting a colleague from unfair dismissal. Most people join GMB and become active out of fear of what might happen to them today or in the future and in hope of what can be achieved through GMB tomorrow.
5. People are strongest when they organise themselves
GMB members make GMB strong so they must organise around the problems that they and potential members face wherever they work. GMB asks members to control GMB where they work as much as possible and support this process through the work of full time GMB Organisers, GMB Branches and GMB@Work training.
The Five 'C's
Effective workplace organisation has five main elements summed up as The Five 'C's
GMB must always have a 'claim' on the negotiating table and adopt a pro-active approach in every workplace and with every employer.
GMB must ensure that everyone at work knows we exist and what we are campaigning for.
GMB reps in each workplace should know who is joining and who is leaving, who is a member and who is not and use this information to talk to potential members regularly about the union's work.
In every workplace and sector there must be a clear and credible industrial strategy. Members must know where to go to and who to contact where they work if they need help, advice or representation. As much servicing of members as possible should be done by GMB reps at work and our training must remain focussed on providing them with the skills needed.
Everyone at work should see the GMB as being part of the workplace and in it for the long term. It is not about selling the union to potential members, but to explain where GMB stands on the issues where they work, why they should join and what they can do to support us.