GMB Equality


GMB Equality

Welcome to
GMB Equality

GMB Union is a union for everyone. Find out about our events, conferences, changes to equality legislation and useful tools and resources to work towards making equality a reality in your workplace. 

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Why is equality a trade union issue?

GMB members come from all backgrounds and identities. We know that different groups have different challenges in the workplace.

Sometimes people ask why equality is a trade union issue. The answer is simple:

  • Women workers are still lower paid on average than men for doing comparable work
  • Ethnic minority workers are less likely to get a promotion and more likely to enter disciplinary processes than white workers
  • Young workers are the most likely group to face bullying at work
  • Disabled workers are often ‘performance managed’ out of their jobs or denied reasonable adjustments
  • LGBT+ workers are harassed at work with higher rates of sexual harassment

There is legislation in place to stop employers discriminating against workers if they fall into one of these groups (what the government calls having a ‘protected characteristic’ and GMB calls 'equality strands') - but if we had full equality these problems would not persist.

That’s why we organise around equality - to make sure that whoever our members are, they are treated with respect, have opportunities to progress, and can get justice for unfair treatment.


How does GMB help members from different backgrounds?

Equality is at the heart of everything GMB does. We are here to ensure that our members are treated fairly and that the workplaces we organise are inclusive for all.

From representing members who face harassment due to their ethnicity or sexuality to ensuring our disabled members get the reasonable adjustments they need, GMB delivers change for members in the workplace.

Each of our branches has a position for an equality officer. Branch Equality Officers help advise members on equality issues and help them organise in their workplace on what is most important to them.

GMB's Regional Equality Officers support regional self-organised groups to campaign on what matters to them at work.

Our National Equality Department coordinates campaigns and events across regions and develops new policies to help members at work.

Whether you want support for an individual issue at work, or you want to get the law changed to help a disadvantaged group, there will be someone in GMB who can help you forward your aims.


Want to get involved with GMB Equality?

Keep an eye on our events page for a diverse programme of inspiring and informative national equality and inclusion events throughout the year.

Contact your local Regional Equality Officer for details of local events, campaigns and to get involved with regional self-organised groups. 

Birmingham & West Midlands Cerys Way - cerys.way@gmb.org.uk   

London Hilda Tavolara - hilda.tavolara@gmb.org.uk

Midlands & East Coast Tyehimba Nosakhere - tyehimba.nosakhere@gmb.org.uk

Northern Julie Wynn - julie.wynn@gmb.org.uk

North West Lisa Ryan - lisa.ryan@gmb.org.uk

Scotland Sandie Rowlands - sandie.rowlands@gmb.org.uk

Southern Michelle Gordon - michelle.gordon@gmb.org.uk

South West & Wales Marie McDonald - marie.mcdonald@gmb.org.uk

Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Louise Foster-Wilson - louise.foster-wilson@gmb.org.uk


For any other enquires, contact:

National Office Eleanor Saunders, National Equality and Inclusion Coordinator - EqualityInclusion@gmb.org.uk


Equality News

National Equality Forum (NEF)


The National Equality Forum (NEF) is the GMB’s national advisory group on equality and inclusion, made of up to 17 GMB activists including: 

  • 11 Regional reps - nominated by their GMB region 
  • a national strand lead for each equality strand: women workers, LGBT+ workers, race, disabled workers - elected by members nominated by their regions
  • the Chair of the Young Workers committee
  • a member elected by the Retired Members Association

All NEF members identify with at least one of the five equality strands which GMB organises around. Many have intersectional identities, belonging to more than one strand. NEF members can be from any GMB industrial section: Public Services, Commercial Services or Manufacturing.



What does the National Equality Forum do? 

The NEF acts as a vital link between equality organising regionally, nationally, and across GMB equality strands and self-organised groups. This includes sharing best practice and highlighting key equality issues. 

As well as being active in their own regions, members of the NEF chair and help organise the National Equality Conference, strand summits, national women’s conferences and more. They input into national equality campaigns and lead national equality workshops. 

The NEF aims to grow the union through workplace campaigning and by supporting practical change for GMB members through workplace equality policies.  

Got a passion for equalities and want to make a difference in your workplace? Contact your regional equality officer.


Self-Organised Groups


All GMB regions have self-organised groups (SOGs) that bring together members from underrepresented groups or groups that face discrimination or barriers because of their identity.  



What self-organised groups can I join?

GMB has 5 self-organised groups (SOGs) that meet regionally: 

  • GMB Sisters – for women members 
  • GMB Race – for Black, Asian and ethnic minority members 
  • GMB Disabled workers – for disabled members 
  • GMB Shout – for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) members
  • GMB Young Members – for members 30 years old and under

GMB Women Workers     GMB Race     

GMB Disabled Workers     GMB LGBT+ Workers

GMB Young Workers


Why is it important to have self-organised groups?  

GMB recognises that to truly fight discrimination and prejudice in the workplace and beyond, people who are directly affected by those issues - people who have ‘lived experience’ - must lead and have a voice in our union, at every level. We believe that people who experience discrimination are the experts in how to tackle it. 

SOGs provide vital support and an important safe space for members facing issues or barriers in the workplace due to their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality/gender identity or youth. Getting active in an SOG is a great way to meet other members like you and to get involved in making work better for everyone.

How do they work? 

Each SOG meets regularly, as agreed amongst the group's members. Members decide together, with the support of their Regional Equality Officers, what workplace issues or campaigns to focus on. 

GMB self-organised groups:  

  • Create workplace policies to support and protect members, leading on successful campaigns including trans equality, hate crime, period dignity and the menopause  
  • Organise regional equality conferences and training
  • Send delegates and motions to TUC equality conferences and GMB Congress, many of which have become GMB policy or have been developed into equality toolkits like the Reasonable Adjustments Disability Passport and the Neurodiversity toolkit  
  • Represent GMB at Prides and anti-fascist demonstrations all over the UK


Get involved: Contact your Regional Equality Officer



Equality News


Smash the Stigma

Menopause in the workplace

Thinking differently at work

Reasonable Adjustment Passport

Domestic Abuse Charter




General resources


Domestic abuse charter

Equality News

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