How GMB Union works

How GMB Union works

GMB is a national union with members across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  

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

General Secretary

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

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

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. 

Your officer

Every branch and your branch reps are supported by an officer or organiser who is a full-time, paid staff member.

Your region

National GMB is broken down into nine regions and a National Office. Each Region has staff and is run by a Regional Secretary. 

Your section

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.

Your Executive

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 2022 will be held in the Harrogate Convention Centre commencing Sunday 12th June 2022.

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.

How to get involved in Congress

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 Congress documents


GMB is governed by its Rule Book 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 Rule Book 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 unions Governing body - the Central Executive Council - can propose rule amendments which are voted on by GMB members at any GMB Congress.

The GMB Rule Book 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 rule book or other files please contact your Regional Office or click the button below to download PDF versions.

GMB Rulebook

The rules include amendments made at Congress 2022 and which come into force on 1 July 2022, unless it says otherwise.

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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.

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Annual Statement to the members of GMB

Report of the Auditors to the Members of the GMB.

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General Member Auditors 2022

Civica report detailing the results for the Election of three General Member Auditors 2022.

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