GMB

Support British gas workers!

British Gas workers struck from 7-11 January, resisting their employer’s attempts to level down conditions by sacking workers en masse and rehiring them on worse contracts. The strike was extremely solid, with activists reporting that its strength grew as it went on. The workers’ union, GMB, is set to announce further strikes. Workers’ morale is high, bolstered by significant engagement with and support for the strike via social media. Workers report numerous instances of self-employed gas contractors committing on social media to take no work on British Gas strike days. British Gas bosses are...

Support British Gas strikers

British Gas engineers are due to strike from 7-11 January, as they fight to stop Centrica, British Gas’s parent company, forcing its workforce onto worse terms and conditions. Workers voted for industrial action by a nine-to-one majority, and thousands have attended online events to build the campaign. A GMB referendum on the proposed new contracts saw the terms rejected by an 86% majority. The section of the affected workforce organised by GMB and in the dispute is comprised of electricians, smart-meter installers, and engineers repairing, servicing, and installing boilers in residential and...

British gas workers fight "fire and rehire"

The GMB union has announced plans to ballot its members in British Gas for industrial action, after bosses refused to withdraw a plan to sack 20,000 workers en masse and rehire them on worse terms and conditions. A union statement said a “a national strike in the gas industry is weeks away” unless British Gas, now owned by the multinational firm Centrica, backed down from the fire-and-rehire plan. The union has yet to announce a timetable for the formal ballot. An indicative ballot in August returned a 95% majority in favour of action.

GMB reform falling far short

Warren Kenny, London Regional Secretary of the GMB union, will take over as the union’s Acting General Secretary (AGS) on 16 November. Tim Roache, re-elected General Secretary last November, resigned in April. A subsequent investigation into the GMB, conducted by Karon Monaghan QC, found that bullying, cronyism, misogyny, sexual harassment and untrammelled bureaucratic diktat were rife in the union. Wales and South-West Regional Secretary John Phillips was appointed AGS in place of Roache. But Phillips is retiring next month. Hence the appointment of a new AGS, pending the outcome of the...

Scottish Labour - why did GMB abstain?

On the eve of the 12 September 2020 meeting of the Scottish Labour Party Executive Committee, Gary Smith, Regional Secretary of the GMB union, announced that the GMB would be abstaining on the motion of ‘no confidence’ in leader Richard Leonard. “Richard Leonard’s Own Union Refuses To Back Him Ahead of Leadership Vote,” read the headlines in the Scottish press. According to Smith: “At a time like this, our members would not thank us for getting bogged down in an internal Scottish Labour party issue, a party for which many of them no longer vote for.” “Bogged down”? But all the two GMB...

GMB: investigate the charges!

The GMB union and the wider labour movement must act on the findings of the investigation by Karon Monaghan QC, which found that the GMB is institutionally sexist. The union began an independent investigation in May into sexual harassment in the GMB, after announcing it had received an anonymous letter accusing General Secretary Tim Roache of “sexist and aggressive” behaviour towards women. The report found women are under-represented throughout the GMB’s ranks, and that bullying, misogyny, cronyism and sexual harassment are endemic within the GMB. The report tells of a senior official who has...

A letter to Andy Newman about gas

Comrade Andy Newman, Like you, I have many criticism’s of Extinction Rebellion’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (see here). But in your LabourList polemic against the Bill, writing as technical director of the “Gas Users Organisation” (GUO) and as a GMB and Labour Party activist, you come down squarely on the wrong side of the crucial issues. You warn of “another culture war divide” over the twin needs of tackling climate change and “protecting well-paid, skilled jobs, and protecting the interests of families and households”. Your answer? Not radical socialist environmentalist policies...

GMB: democracy vs Regional Secretaries

The GMB union is institutionally sexist. There is gender-based job discrimination. Branches are male-dominated, with deliberately engineered limits on female participation. And bullying, misogyny, cronyism, and sexual harassment are endemic in the union. That is the conclusion of Karon Monaghan QC’s report on her investigation into the GMB, commissioned by its Central Executive Council (CEC) in late April, and published on 2 September. Monaghan’s remit was to investigate the GMB’s record on responding to complaints of sexual harassment, assess the effectiveness (or otherwise) of GMB policies...

Support the Tower Hamlets workers!

Thousands of council workers in Tower Hamlets struck on 3-6-7 July against mass sackings and the imposition of new, significantly worse terms and conditions under the “Tower Rewards” scheme. As we go to press Tower Hamlets Unison reps have been meeting to discuss their next steps. There may be more strikes in the week starting 13 July. Picket organisers reported a strong strike turnout and good numbers at socially distanced pickets across the borough, plus many more members “striking from home”. Refuse workers organised by Unite and GMB supported the action, and some refused to cross picket...

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