Page 1

The magazine for GMB members Spring 2013

Top m a n ! John Gibson wins TUC award!

Fair Play!

W IN a pair o f

Glasto tickets See page 23

GMB equalities reps fight for fair treatment! Does your boss keep you hanging on the line? See p14

In this issue...

Joe Morgan and West GMB Birmingham secretary al on gi re ds Midlan

GMB secures recognition at Scropton turkey factory Page 7

GMB wins a living wage for Barking and Dagenham members Page 16



4 Fight for the future

9 Make a difference

GMB members take to the streets to fight for a brighter future

6 GMB steps up

GMB wins compensation for a member who slipped on a step ladder

8 Get political

GMB members join the fight for Labour

25 Simply the best

John Gibson named TUC Rep of the Year

26 Fair play

Big issues at the Regional Equalities Forum

28 Reducing the risk

New asbestos guidelines for schools

29 Calling all women

How GMB is fighting for a fair deal for women members

30 Workers win!

Jobs saved for 200 Remploy workers

31 Contact GMB

Names and numbers you can call on

GMB regional editor Samantha Jones: 0121 550 4888 Editorial director Stephen Pierce Editor Matt Robinson Art editor Johnny Goddard Contributors Emma Johnston, Jayne Nelson Advertising manager Steve Hulbert Account managers David Parker, Lisa Dunham Production and procurement manager Matt Eglinton Production co-ordinator Katty Skardon Creative director Matthew Williams Art director Stuart Hobbs Director, Future Plus UK Jayne Caple Printed at St Ives Direct

Help the Labour Party win the next election

11 Paul Kenny speaks A word from your general secretary

12 Blacklisting

How GMB is beating the illegal blacklist

14 Zero hours contracts Paul Routledge on the pitfalls of ZHCs

16 A living wage

GMB is winning fair pay for members in councils across the UK


How to pay your GMB subs by Direct Debit

20 British Gas offer

Recommend a friend for free insulation and get a £50 voucher with this exclusive offer

23 Win Glasto tickets

Your chance to win tickets to Glastonbury

24 Save a life today

Register as a blood or bone marrow donor and become a life-saver

Produced by Future Plus, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW

We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from well managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. Future Publishing and its paper suppliers have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

Would you like to advertise in GMB Centre Point magazine? Please contact Steve Hulbert on 01225 442 244 (ex 5205) Accepting of advertising and inserts and does not imply GMB endorsement of the product or services. Remember that GMB recommends all services and offers should always be used to test the cost against other commercial companies. Members are advised to secure at least two quotes on all commercial transactions.

The austerity programme is actually damaging the economy Welcome to the spring edition of your Centrepoint magazine. When is a coalition not a coalition? That’s not a lead line in a joke, although the coalition government looks more and more like a music hall slapstick double act. We have the prime minister and his deputy at odds over quite a few things of late. The ‘non’ reform of the House of Lords and now the ‘non’ realigning of constituency boundaries. These may not be burning issues as far as the electorate are concerned, in fact they are not even luke warm issues. However, one disagreement between the coalition that hasn’t hit the headlines that should have done was the statement from Nick Clegg that he now realises that the cuts have been too fast and too deep, which has prevented any growth in the economy. It comes as no surprise to us in GMB that the austerity programme is actually damaging the economy rather than aiding it as the government would try to have us believe. It’s also no surprise to see Clegg making a massive u-turn on a policy, we all remember (and hopefully won’t let him and his party forget) the tuition fees pledge! You will also see in this edition some of the campaigns we have been involved in locally and nationally. GMB must continue to be at the forefront of such campaigns and be seen by our members as a forwardthinking campaigning organisation. Finally colleagues, we see the issue of the European Union raising its head again within the ranks of the Tory party. In, out, yes, no, a referendum possibly in 2017! Hopefully voters will see the issue as a poor attempt to win voters at the next election in 2015 from those unsure of the value of the EU. Don’t be fooled, a vote for Labour is the only way for GMB members. 03

l a n o i g e r


GMB m o r f s w e n All the

r u o r o f t h g i F


ploy From coalition cuts to jobs for Remon have workers, members across the regifor our future been taking to the streets to fight


ver the last six months, GMB Birmingham & West Midlands members have come together to protest against the coalition government’s cuts and fight for a future that works. Demonstrations, walk-outs and strikes have been taking place across the region. Here are just a few…

Remploy workers demonstrate against factory closures REMPLOY’S RAGE Factory closures have led to unemployment.


GMB members joined Remploy workers, who were made redundant when the government closed factories last year, to demonstrate outside the Tory party conference. The activists called on the government to stop the closure and privatisation of the Remploy factory sites and to enter into meaningful discussion on the structure and future of Remploy. Figures show that 85 per cent of Remploy workers who were made redundant in previous closures have not been able to find work.

Join us on facebook search GMB West Midlands

regional PRIDE AND GROOM Standing up to the outdated views of C4M.

Gay rights rally Along with students, community groups and faith groups, GMB staged a rowdy demonstration in favour of same sex marriage outside Birmingham Town Hall during a Tory party fringe event opposing gay marriage. Despite public opinion and support from MPs being in favour – four to one – of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) held an anti-gay marriage rally to galvanise opposition to equal marriage. GMB members gathered outside the Town Hall to oppose the C4M event.

Updat your GMe ProfileB www.gmb

LONDON CALLING Thousands descended on the capital to protest.

.org update .uk/

WORKERS’ FURY GMB members send the government a message.

March and rally against the governement’s cuts GMB members joined the crowds of activists who took to the streets of Birmingham to demonstrate for an alternative economic strategy to austerity, as the 2012 Tory party conference started in the ICC. Around 3,000 people, many of them carrying banners to get the message across, met at Victoria Square for a march around the back streets passing Broad Street. The march and rally, with its atmosphere of determination and solidarity among working people, was organised to send a strong message to the Tory party conference that their callous and senseless spending cuts threaten a lost decade, and to defend quality public services from being destroyed.

TUC national demonstration Members from the Birmingham & West Midlands region travelled to London to join tens of thousands of people in protest against the government's austerity measures in a march organised by the TUC last October. An estimated 150,000 people came from all over the UK in 250 specially arranged coaches to oppose the government’s cuts. Banners on display included those reading "Cameron has butchered Britain", "no cuts" and "plebs on parade". Speakers at the rally included Labour leader Ed Miliband and organisers TUC’s general secretary Brendon Barber. 05



from GMB All the news

GMB steps


GMB wins compensation for step-fall member


hanks to GMB’s hard work, a kitchen assistant has received £46,759 after her employers failed to keep her safe at work. The member, from Harborne Day Centre, was hanging flags and bunting in the kitchen of her workplace to celebrate St George’s Day. She used a set of small steps kept in the kitchen for general use, but lost her balance and fell, fracturing her heel. After this, the member left her job because of her injuries and took voluntary redundancy in August 2010. Despite informing her employers at management meetings prior to the accident that the steps were dangerous to use as they had no handrail, nothing had been done about them. Since the accident, the management have bought proper stepladders. GMB’s solicitors alleged that the management breached health and


OME safety at work A G MB regulations for WORKP failing to ORGANILACE SER www.g perform a gmbwo .uk/ suitable and sufficient risk assessment: this would have identified the requirement for a correct set of steps to be provided for the claimant to use in the kitchen. There were also breaches of the work equipment regulations in that the set of steps that the employee was using was inadequate; the lack of a handrail meant that she had to rely on her balance alone when using the steps, without any form of support. The claimant was forced to receive extensive care and assistance from her husband and family members after her fall, and she had to take an early retirement. GMB is proud to have won her case.

“Management breached safety regulations.”

Feel the

benefit for Join the Birmingham & West Midlands region’s Sickness and Benefit Fund to stay protected when you’re off work sick. If you sign up you’ll get:

• A payment of £10 a week for

up to eight weeks in any one calendar year

• Funeral benefit in the event of death

• 66 per cent funeral benefit in the event of your spouse’s death

• The cost to join this scheme is just 15p per week or 65p per month.

Join now! Contact the finance and membership department on 0121 550 4888 for an application form. 06

GMB recognition at Pink Skips Wellings Ltd, who trade as Pink Skips, recently agreed to hold a ballot of employees to see if they wanted GMB recognition. David Whiting from ACAS spent a day on site balloting members, with the result of the vote showing that the workforce was in favour of

recognition. The process was started by the employees meeting MDO David Day in a local pub, with a view to seeing what GMB could do to help them. This led to meetings with the company carried out by David Day and GMB organiser Rebecca Mitchell.

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GMB campaign squashes Carillion’s council bid in Staffordshire


MB’s hard-fought campaign has ensured that Carillion lost out on its bid for Staffordshire County Council’s education support services contract. On 1 April 2013 these services will be transferred to the private sector. In June 2012 Carillion finally admitted that managers in Swindon encouraged gift-giving to get jobs and to take holidays. It also admitted there was a racial element to the bullying and harassment and has taken no responsibility for this appalling culture. GMB has 80 employment tribunal claims – for race and religious discrimination, whistle blowing, victimisation, trade union activities and unlawful deductions – lodged against Carillion in relation to the Swindon contract. Carillion is also one of 44 companies involved in the systematic blacklisting of workers in the construction sector and subject to an impending High Court action being run by GMB. In November GMB held a meeting

at Stafford College to protest against the outsourcing and against Carillion’s bid and wrote to every head teacher in Staffordshire informing them of the despicable way in which Carillion treats its employees. The decision was made on Wednesday 5 December 2012 and all our hard work paid off, as the preferred bidder was Capita. Chris Humphreys, GMB regional officer, said “A bid from Carillion was unwelcome until they properly acknowledged the vile history of blacklisting of companies that make up the group and compensated the workers whose lives they blighted. It has taken years of campaigning to get companies like Carillion to drop their denials and cover ups and apologise. Carillion is in denial when they say their involvement in blacklisting was limited to Crown House. “Carillion was told by Staffordshire people that blacklisting 224 workers and supplying information to a database that was used to blacklist 3,213 workers is no minor matter.”


Are you on the construction blacklist? Turn to page 12.

birds of a feather stick together Leading food producer brings GMB recognition to Scropton turkey factory NO FOWL PLAY Cranberry Foods team up with Faccenda Group. Employees at Cranberry Foods factory in Scropton are set to benefit from GMB representation as their company was bought by Faccenda Group last year. One of the UK’s leading food manufacturers, Faccenda Group Ltd, purchased Cranberry Foods, the UK’s

second biggest turkey producer, in 2012 and is all set to spread the benefits of GMB to its new employees. Faccenda has a long-standing partnership with GMB and a recognition agreement, which has been in place for more than a decade. As Faccenda has extended this recognition to its new factory, the Cranberry Food employees will now, for the first time, have a recognised trade union to represent and negotiate on their behalf.

Stuart Richards, GMB organiser, said: “Our recognition agreement has enabled GMB and Faccenda to build a successful and constructive relationship over the past 10 years. GMB welcomes the opportunity to further strengthen our relationship through extending our existing agreement to Scropton.” Andrew Brodie HR Director at Faccenda commented: “Our partnership approach with GMB fits well with our values as an Employer of Choice and I look forward to continuing to work closely with GMB across the business and at the Scropton factory.” 07



from GMB All the news

Move tto Direc Debit k/ .org.u www.gmbove ddm

GMB in action

HIGH FLYER GMB organiser Russell Farringdon delivers leaflets with Labour MP John Spellar.

GMB members get political across the region


MB Birmingham & West Midlands members are continuing their ongoing support for our local Labour parties – including for Stourbridge and for Halesowen and Rowley Regis. GMB activists have been telephoning Labour supporters and spreading the word. This is to ensure we maintain the momentum that has been built up in preparation for the next general election in 2015. We have even more activities planned over the coming months to help achieve this goal. For example, members from the Birmingham & West Midlands region will also be out in force leafleting, in order to keep residents of these areas informed of the work being carried out by their local Labour Party. This leafleting will also give them the opportunity to have their say on the many and varied issues that affect them and their families. 08

labour by-election victory Voters went to the polls in a by-election in January, as Labour and Co-operative Party candidate Barbara Sykes was eventually elected as a councillor for Wollaston and Stourbridge Town. The result of the by-election, which was called following the death of Tory councillor Malcolm Knowles last year, means all three councillors in the ward are now Labour. It leaves Labour with 42 seats to the Conservatives’ 29, with the Green Party having one seat on Dudley council. There were 2,376 votes recorded, making the turnout 23.2 per cent. Mrs Sykes polled 847 votes to win the seat.

political education days Get out your calendar and note these dates: 11 May, 7 September and

7 December. These education days are being introduced in GMB Birmingham & West Midlands region to encourage more members and branches to understand how politics affects their day-to-day lives, as well as how we as trade union members can influence the political agenda. This agenda is all around us: it decides how much we pay in rates, the price of petrol, keeping warm in cold weather as well as our NHS and the on-going privatisation of our valued public services. A wide range of speakers have been invited to help shape the discussion and topics to take forward, as well as answering your questions.

get involved on days. Take part in GMB educati Find out more at www.gmb-westmids

l na O I T NA


om GMB r f s w e n e h t l Al

e c n a h c r You to shape

e p o r u e


Stand up for working families in the UK


e all now realise the damage this Con-Dem government is inflicting on our public services and on GMB members and their families. The Lib Dems are complicit in the havoc being wreaked on our communities; we should never forget that. The GMB Central Executive Council (CEC) policy is to make the Labour Party electable in time for the next general election. GMB is now staffed with a political department and each GMB region has a regional political officer (RPO). These officers’ jobs are to organise politically and they are there to help, so get in touch – see the panel on the next page for details of your regional RPO. GMB is encouraging members to join the Labour Party, become active in their communities and local Labour Parties, and help the party become electable. If our members are involved they can encourage the party to adopt policies which will help people provide for their families. Only by being politically active can GMB members influence Labour Party policy and make sure it stands for the things we believe in: a stop to the privatisation of public services, a Living Wage for all working people and investment in our schools and hospitals. As a GMB member you can be part of the Labour Party for just £1.80 a month – that’s only £21.50 a year. Download a form from and start making a difference!

Bring YOUR mag to life! Discover a world of extras when you point your smartphone at the pages of this GMB magazine. To get started, download the Layar app from

1 Download the Layar app for iPhone and Android devices.

2 Point your smartphone at a WHOLE page of the mag where you see this logo.

3 Watch as it comes to life on your screen. 09



from GMB All the news

Shaping a Europe that works for you In the November edition of this magazine we appealed to members to put themselves forward to stand as Labour candidates for the 2014 European elections. This was a huge success and many GMB members will be on the list of candidates to be voted on by Labour Party members in July. The result of the ballot and final regional lists of candidates will be announced at the Labour Party Annual Conference in September. Some of us see the EU as distant or gobbledygook that we don’t understand and just over 30 per cent of us voted in the last European elections. Yet GMB members benefit from the rights that belonging to the EU brings

us, and we must to fight to ensure these are protected and improved, not taken away. We have the power of our vote to start shaping a Europe that works for us – and if we want positive change we must vote for it at the next European election. We must vote for the GMB members and other trade unionists who have stood up for us and know that the EU needs change, but not at the expense of our hard-won rights. The rights from Europe came to us when we had majorities of Labour and Socialist MEPs, commissioners and governments at European level. It is no surprise that since we lost the majority across the EU, these rights fell under attack.

What does Europe mean to you? For GMB, Europe means a basketful of employment and social rights that we might otherwise never have had. Health and safety protection, paid holidays from work, limits on working hours, protection when faced with collective redundancies and rights when the company we work for is sold. The transfers of undertakings (TUPE) regulations give GMB the right to make sure we keep our hard-won pay and conditions. Part-time workers are guarded; fixed term and temporary agency workers’ rights have been improved; we have improved maternity/pregnant workers’ rights and extensive equal treatment and equality rights. When workers come to the UK to work they have to be paid the negotiated rate of pay and cannot be exploited. And these are just some of the rights we enjoy from Europe. Yet increasingly, when we hear and read about Europe, it is about why Britain should leave it. It's not about whether it's good for us as working families and everyday people to be in or out; the debate is being dominated by politicians. So if we are going to have a debate about Europe, we want it to be about shaping a Europe that works for us.

Watch GMB TV Want to know more about getting involved? Get it from the horse’s mouth! Watch interviews with Labour MPs and GMB organisers at


We want honest answers about what will happen to our jobs if we leave the EU. Around 50 per cent of everything we produce is bought by Europe. The USA has already said that for them the UK is a route to the EU – and if we’re not in they will find another route. All this will have big implications for us as working families, our jobs and our economy. David Cameron says he wants to renegotiate the terms of our involvement with Europe rather than withdraw altogether. One of the top priorities for him and the coalition is to remove workers’ rights. So any renegotiation under a Con-Dem government is bad news for GMB members. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) would also remove our rights. They are not any friend of GMB members. So get involved and help us shape a Europe that works for us – because its future is in our hands.


cts political conta

Get in touch with your regional political officer GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Region Stephanie Peacock 0121 550 4888

GMB London Region Gary Doolan 020 7391 6748

GMB Midland & East Coast Region

Richard Oliver 0115 960 7171

GMB Northern Region Chris Jukes 0191 233 3930

GMB North West and Irish Region Neil Smith 0151 727 0077

GMB Scotland

Richard Leonard 0141 332 8641

GMB Southern Region Michelle Gordon 020 8397 8881

GMB Wales & South West Region Mike Payne 029 2049 1260

GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region Steve Jennings 0845 337 7777

GMB Euston Political Team Cath Speight, national political officer 020 7391 6746 Heidi Benzing 020 7391 6749 Gary Doolan 020 7391 6748 Lisa Johnson 020 7391 6764 Steve Kemp 020 7391 6700 Hilary Perrin 020 7391 6753

! get onrtyline u yo what

Tell the Labour Pa esto 2014 want in the Labour Manif k g.u .or ain rit rb ou at www.y ney Find out who’s giving mo at s rie To to the

Paul kenny


cretary e s l a r e n e g your GMB m o r f d r o w A

It is a scandal that people are victimised for asking questions


here is a line in a Joni Mitchell song which goes “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. How true those words ring when the people you love are no longer around, and I guess that is what the song was written to convey. However, such sentiments also apply to the standards of equality, justice and services which are lost, diluted or just plundered by politicians and the vested interests of markets and millionaires. We now live in a country where our natural resources are all owned by private companies, who make vast profits selling us back natural resources, like water, which falls from the sky for free!!

SELLING IT OFF Our energy, railways and public services are all seen as primary wealth producers for corporations’ shareholders or entrepreneurs rather than being instruments for a richer economy for all, a planned future for the benefit of the many. I look in disbelief as this generation of snake oil salesmen that masquerade as our government, package up our health service for privatisation. How they tell us that somehow giving hundreds of millions, currently spent on patient care, to the back pockets of privateers, is the health service we need or indeed want!

RISKY BUSINESS The power of the business lobby is stronger now than at any time in modern government and where better to see that power than to look at the “special advisors” from business, which now adorn every government department. The lobby group who don’t ever have to book an appointment to see the minister. They just waltz right in from the office next door! These “business” interests, demanding cuts in regulations on everything from health and safety to employment rights and equality laws. These are the same guardians of our interests who welcomed cuts in public services whilst applauding cash hand outs to millionaires. The same crew who demanded and got cuts in corporation tax alongside cuts in benefits. The vested interests of multi nationals who earn billions from our country yet pay nothing or virtually nothing back in taxes on their vast profits. The vested interests of the companies who were allowed to get away with compiling blacklists designed to discriminate against ordinary men and women whose only crime might have been to attend a meeting about working conditions or airport expansions or similar environmental concerns.

It is a scandal that people who live in a country that politicians like to tell us is a free democratic society are victimised for asking questions or having the desire to just listen to a debate.

DEMAND ACTION GMB has led the way in both exposing and demanding action on these matters, from tax avoidance by the Starbucks and Amazons of this world to the companies like Carillion and McAlpine whose involvement in blacklisting is now out in the open. If anyone thinks GMB will tire of pursuing these companies, then they better think again. The first political party which has the courage to break the strangle hold of the self-interest buccaneers will be embraced by millions of British people who have become victims of the snout in the trough arrangement, the “we can do whatever we want” culture, of so many companies and individuals whose only interests are their own. I hope that party is Labour. I hope Ed Miliband has the strength to follow his own natural instinct on justice and equality. And a vision which enhances the lives of British people, not on servicing the vested interests of an unelected rich elite. After all when it comes to political support, as the song goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. 11



3 1 2 , 3 from GMB All the news

d e t s i l k c a l b

e of the on , ow kn u yo ne eo m so is or u, yo Are 3,213 names on the construction industry blacklist?


ore than 3,000 names appear on an illegal blacklist used by companies in the construction industry. The map, right, was made by GMB to show how many people in each area of the UK were on the blacklist of 3,213* workers. The blacklist first came to light in 2009. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out trade union and health and safety activists. By autumn 2012, only 194 of the 3,213 blacklisted workers knew they were on it. After GMB pressed for disclosure, the ICO agreed to supply names, dates of birth, trades and towns of residence on a restricted basis to enable GMB to check our own membership records to find members who are on the blacklist. We found 200 exact matches and are in contact with these members to get their files from ICO. GMB appointed lawyers Leigh Day are preparing litigation to get compensation for them. There were a further 300 names on the list, who may be GMB members, but we need more information to assess if they are. We publish the map, based on locations supplied by ICO for all 3,213, to prompt responses from members to help us in this. If you were a construction worker from one of these areas and as a trade union or health 12

STAND UP FOR JUSTICE Blacklisting makes innocent members into outlaws.

1 northern ireland

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and safety activist were denied work for reasons you could not explain, get in touch so we can crosscheck the records. GMB’s priority is to step up the campaign to get every blacklisted GMB member compensation. GMB is calling on councils not to award work to the companies that operated the blacklist until they compensate those they damaged. GMB is also pushing ICO for a proactive action to inform all builders affected that they are on the blacklist. A GMB report on blacklisting showed that it was not something isolated or rare. The

report estimated that in one quarter, Carillion, for example, checked 2,776 names with the Consulting Association, and in the period from October 1999 to April 2004 it estimates that Carillion checked at least 14,724 names.

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* When alias names and duplicates are excluded there are 3,213 individuals on the blacklist. The map shows where 2,554 lived or worked. There are an additional 12 unmapped in Wales and 8 unmapped in Scotland. For 639, or 20%, no proper addresses are given. The ICO using NI details could, with help of DWP, find current addresses for most of 3,213 but they have not done so. 13




from GMB All the news

www.gmb .org gmbwo .uk/

hangin’ on the

telephone Daily Mirror columnist Paul Routledge on how zero hours contracts are keeping UK workers waiting by the phone


ON’T call us – we’ll call you!” That’s the old showbiz gag. Promoters who exploit struggling artistes tell them to stay by the phone on the off chance of something coming up. But it’s no joke in modern-day Britain, where employers impose “zero hours contracts” (ZHC) contracts on people desperate for work. These breadwinners spend hours listening for the boss to call them in for a few hours’ paid work. Sometimes the phone rings, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s not a job. It’s not even a genuine contract – it’s a con-trick. But nowadays it’s year zero every year in UK plc, as employers rush to turn their workforce into casual labourers. Once upon a time, it was the dockers, gathered at the dock gates waiting for the foreman to shout 14

“You, you and you! The rest go home.” Today, this system goes right across the board from fast-food outlets to the NHS. Exactly what are we talking about here? Under a zero hours contract, employees are obliged to make themselves available for work – but the employer is under no obligation to provide work. There are no specified hours, and work can vary from week to week. Workers are paid only for the time they work, so the waiting time they spend by the phone is unpaid. And some employers don’t even pay for waiting time spent on work premises, though legally workers are entitled to payment. ACAS, the employment relations service, says, “National Minimum Wage (NMW) regulations state that workers on ‘stand-by time’, ‘on-call time’ and ‘downtime’ must

still be paid the NMW if they are at their place of work and are required to be there. “Similarly, such time is likely to count as ‘working time’ under the Working Time Regulations if the worker is required to be on call at the place of work. This means that it’s against the law to ask employees to ‘clock’ during quiet periods but still remain on the premises.” Workers should be aware of these provisions. It’s obvious why the employers like this evil system. As GMB puts it: “This isn’t a proper job at all, but being on a bank of agency workers, with no rights, no guarantees and unable to plan their lives.” Security work has been particularly hard hit by the zero hours revolution. And as the union for security workers, GMB members and GMB workplace

SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT Bring these pages to life! organisers have spotlighted the excesses and are driving action by the union in the workplace and in a wider public debate. GMB has successfully challenged ZHCs in a number of companies, where the employer has agreed minimum hours so workers have a “default position” knowing just how much they will get.

tough fight But it’s a tough fight we have on our hands. The industry is highly fragmented, with many people working alone and on night shifts. Where workers are isolated, and communication is poor, it’s easy for them to be abused by management. Security is probably the worst in terms of exploitation, but ZHCs are also found in local government, schools, food processing, telecommunications, agriculture and some parts of manufacturing. And in the NHS, one Trust in south-west England has more than 1,000 people on ZHCs at all levels of the organisation: healthcare assistant, midwife, doctor, surgeon and admin worker. None have security of income. Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has called on the coalition government to halt the spread of ZHCs in the NHS pending an urgent review into the potential risks to continuity of care and patient safety. “What we’re seeing is the casualisation of our health service, turning parts of the NHS into a temping workforce,” he warned. Reliable figures across the nation are hard to come by, but the official government Labour Force Survey calculates that in pre-recession Britain of 2005, there were

JOB INSECURITY Factory workers suffer from unfair contracts.

regional NATional

75,000 employees on zero hours contracts, 32,000 of them women. In 2011 this had increased to 146,000, with 85,000 women.

tip of the iceberg These figures show a doubling of ZHCs since the bankers’ recession hit the economy, with women now more likely to be exploited by employers. And the official numbers are just the tip of an iceberg. They exclude hundreds of thousands of agency workers – who are not technically employees. The clear and present danger of exploitation from zero hour contracts has prompted GMB to back a call for a National Minimum Hours strategy to complement the National Minimum Wage, with GMB giving evidence to the Low Pay Commission. GMB executive policy officer Ida Clemo says: “Employers regard these workers as ‘flexible’, but it is GMB policy that if workers

“Where workers are isolated and communication is poor, it’s easy for them to be abused by management.” have a regular pattern of work over a fixed period then they must be offered employment on a permanent contract, not a casual one.” The security industry is traditionally a low-wage economy with long hours. In addition to this many sites are not GMB-organised sites, and there is a high potential for guards to be exposed to violence. As such security guards are SIA-licensed and vetted to high standards. The big players, with whom GMB has recognition agreements, fund the license with the cost repaid if guards leave before the end of the three-year license period. However, most guards who aren’t GMB members are on ZHCs and have to pay for their own license and training with no guarantee of work. The logical outcome of this cut-throat business practice was perfectly demonstrated during the Olympic Games, when security firm G4S – many of whose security officers were on ZHCs – failed dismally to produce the tens of thousands of guards required to keep the sites safe.

ON CALL Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary, objects to ZHCs. That’s because ZHCs cut both ways. How can an employee treated badly in this way feel any loyalty to a company that treats him or her like an industrial serf? These work deals first reappeared in the recession of the ’90s. They didn’t guarantee any hours or pay. But they were a contract with that employer, so the employee could not work anywhere else, nor could they sign on for benefits. Where did they go afterwards? As soon as the labour market eases and better forms of employment become available, people stop accepting them and they become rare. But there are few signs that the labour market is picking up. Quite the opposite. And with the UK economy bumping along the bottom, most new employment is low-paid, part-time work. Hundreds of thousands of worthwhile jobs in the public services have been sacrificed in the name of austerity but the private sector only wants “flexible” staff who can be called out when they’re needed. This is a recipe for disaster, because dissatisfied workers are reluctant workers. Whatever the nature of the work, you need people who are committed to doing a good job. “A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” is an old maxim, but one that reflects the British way of life. A way of living now under siege from the zero hours mobsters.

get help from gmb ered a zero Have you been off ch hours contract? Get in tou ice off al with your region or find out more online at 15



from GMB All the news

GMB calls on UK councils to pay

IT’S A LIVING THING GMB secures a living wage at Barking & Dagenham council.

a living wage

The campaign steps up as some councils make the first step to get on board


pay freezes have meant that this progress has t’s nonsensical that council been halted and dragged back, leaving some workers’ pay has to be topped up by GMB members at the lower end of the pay state benefits. More councils are scale on £6.30 per hour. GMB is determined signing up to the GMB living wage that members on these lower pay rates, who campaign all the time, so check out the are forced to claim tax credits, free school latest list of the councils that haven’t at: meals, housing benefit and council tax benefit to make ends meet will be paid a living wage. GMB is calling on all UK councils to pay a Around 280,000 – 16 per cent of living wage. In England and Wales local authority staff – would GMB wants councils to pay £7.45 benefit from a living wage. Jobs per hour. With a much higher currently paid £6.30–£6.38 cost of living in the capital, per hour include home help, GMB is seeking an hourly teaching assistants, rate of £8.55 from the 33 rts pe ex at The hourly rate th cleaners, grave diggers, London boroughs. The ed ne le op pe y sa an admin assistants, sure-start, campaign is being backed to be paid to have d ar nd sta caretakers, care workers and by Labour Party. A le ab pt acce school crossing patrols. sokesperson said, “Labour of living (£8.55 in London). You will find GMB living wage councils are leading the way in material at committing to pay a living wage livingwage GMB has petitions to their staff and subcontracted among council workers and is meeting with workers. As part of Labour’s policy review we the chief executives of councils and calling on are now looking at ideas for extending it elected councillors to vote for a living wage. further into the private sector.” At the time of writing, 35 councils in Council rates of pay have been pushed up England, including 10 London boroughs by GMB negotiators over time, but years of


which will pay the higher hourly rate, have committed to pay a living wage. They are Ashfield, Blackpool, Birmingham, Brent, Brighton & Hove, Calderdale, Camden, Carlisle, Chorley, Croydon, Dartford, Deal, Derby City, Ealing, Enfield, Gloucester City, Hackney, Harrow, Hounslow, Hyndburn, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newark & Sherwood, Newcastle, Norwich, Oxford City, Preston, Sheffield, Southwark, Wirral, Wolverhampton, Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich and York. Scotland is leading the way by paying £7.20 from 1 April this year in all 26 Scottish councils. GMB Scotland intends to move on to the private sector contractors delivering catering and cleaning services to councils by extending the campaign to cover them too. None of the 26 Northern Ireland councils have signed up to the GMB living wage aims Only two of Wales’s 22 councils, Cardiff and Swansea, have signed up to pay a living wage of £7.45. GMB wants a living wage for members in the private sector too, not just in councils.

GMB wins a living wage of £9ph for members at Barking & Dagenham council in London. 16



from GMB All the news

How GMB makes life easier for you GMB workplace organisers are there to offer support and advice, so whether you are having a problem that you need help with, or if you just want to know what your rights are, call them! Don’t worry, Clive. Just fill in a direct debit form and I will send it off to GMB. it’s that simple.

One afternoon…

Jen, I Start a new job next week and my new boss won’t deduct My GMB contributions from my wages.

you have a legal right to be a GMB member wherever you work, Whether your Boss recognises GMB or not.

I Still want to be a GMB member. What can I do?

Yes, I saw your names on the list of staff who are leaving. I’ll be meeting with you both later in the week.

Thanks, Jen. If you give me the Direct debit form I’ll fill it out now. By the way, Helen is moving to the new depot.

The End


Gavin Roberts

Great! I’ll Ask Helen to fill in a Membership Transfer Note. Then payroll can keep her GMB deductions going.




from GMB All the news

50 could be yours! VOUCHER


Refer a friend to British Gas for free insulation and earn yourself a £50 voucher!


ritish Gas is offering a FREE £50 voucher to anyone who refers a friend on qualifying benefits to receive free insulation worth up to £1,000. If you have a friend on any of the benefits listed in the table to the right, you could get them FREE insulation and a £50 voucher for yourself! The voucher will be sent to you once the installation has been completed. What’s more there is no limit on the number of people you can refer. As well as getting FREE insulation, the customer you refer will be paid £50 too and they don’t even need to be a British Gas customer to be eligible. The offer is part of a government initiative to help Britain’s homes become more energy efficient – and it is FREE to anyone who qualifies. The whole process is hassle free and is usually complete in less than a day. What’s more insulation can save your friend money on their bills. Loft insulation alone could save as much as £175 a year!

ND REFER A r,FtelRl anIE eligible To earn a £50 vouche British Gas on: friend or relative to call

0800 107 1683 ’ with your name, quoting ‘GMBMAG number. address and telephone

Who qualifies?

Visit or see the table below:

If you receive one of the following benefits: 1. State Pension Credit or 2. Child Tax Credit with an income below £15,860 or 3. A combination of the following: Income-related employment and support allowance, which must include a work-related activity or support component

Has parental responsibility for a child who ordinariliy resides with that person where the child is: (i) under the age of 16; or (ii) 16 or over but under the age of 20 and in full-time education (other than higher education)

Income-based job seekers allowance

A child tax credit which includes a disability or severe disability element


A disabled child premium Income support

A disability premium, enhanced disability premium or severe disability premium A pensioner premium, higher pensioner premium or enhanced pensioner premium OR

Working tax credit and has a relevant income of £15,860 or less


Has parental responsibility for a child who ordinariliy resides with that person where the child is: (i) under the age of 16; or (ii) 16 or over but under the age of 20 and in full-time education (other than higher education) Is in receipt of a disabled worker element or severe disability element Is aged 60 years or over

TERMS AND CONDITIONS To be eligible, a member of the household must be on eligible benefits call 0800 107 1683 or see for details. British Gas installs in mainland Great Britain only. Not all homes are suitable for insulation. Offer only applies to loft and cavity wall measures recommended by an appointed surveyor. Offer includes up to £1,000 of specialist equipment at the discretion of the appointed surveyor. Tenants must seek landlord permission. Offer only applicable to residential properties and excludes all other properties including commercial or part commercial premises. The Offer is subject to availability and subject to change or withdrawal at any time. A £50 Love2shop voucher will be sent to the Applicant and the Referrer within 30 days of completion of insulation installation. Employees of British Gas, members of their immediate family and British Gas contractors are not eligible for the £50 reward. Referrers may refer more than one Applicant. Applicants must provide proof of their eligibility for the Offer, including proof of receipt of eligible benefits as set out above and/or proof of age and proof of their residential address. Free insulation is limited to one per Applicant. Phone lines are open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm on Saturday and 9am-4pm on Sunday. Closed on Bank Holidays. Calls are free from 20 however charges from mobile phonesand other networks may vary. Calls may be monitored and/or recorded for quality assurance and compliance purposes. a BT landline,





SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT Bring these pages to life!

y b ver o ed l w o b be l ’l u yo

congress 2013 plymouth, 2–6 june

Save the



Watch it liv Congress Te on V! Go to www.gmb

’ s r ine m m a h Dur

Dave Hopper, general secretary, Durham Miners’ Association appeals to GMB members GMB Central Executive Council is backing the future of the Durham Miners’ Gala, which was first held 142 years ago and is the biggest celebration of trade union values in Britain today. However, the cost of the Gala is increasing year on year and we need your help to keep this institution running.

MINERS’ MARCH The Durham Miners’ Gala is 142 year-old tradition.

Since our coalfield was destroyed 20 years ago by a vengeful Tory government, we have had no regular subscription to our funds from working miners. Our financial problems have now been further compounded, as we have to pay more than £1.4m in legal fees. Anyone who donates £2 a month or a one-off payment of £24 a year will become a member of The Friends Of The Durham


Miners’ Gala Society, and each year will receive a glossy magazine with photographs of the Gala and a report of the speeches. Donations can of course be more than £2 per month if circumstances allow, and one-off payments are equally acceptable. To join or donate, please contact us through our website (details below). You may also wish to buy one or more of the items for sale from the site. This year’s Durham Miners’ Gala will be held on Saturday 13 July.

please donate

la The Durham Miners’ Ga lp! he ur yo s need org www.durhamminers. 21



from GMB All the news



Going to be a mum? Don’t miss out on your maternity rights


MB has worked hard over the years for maternity rights and pay. Here are some basic facts for new mothers:

What maternity pay will I get? If you earn the lower earnings limit of £107 a week and you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks before the 15th week before your baby is due you will probably be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

though you are not entitled to SMP, this is Contractual or Occupational Maternity Pay. You should look at your employment contract or the maternity policy to see what it says about maternity pay. There may be a requirement for you to pay some money back if you don’t return to work for a certain length of time.

Remember... The situation with your employer may change, so always discuss your individual situation with your GMB workplace organiser. This is a brief guide to your legal minimum rights and is not a definitive guide to the law, which may change.

Is it true that all women get 52 weeks’ maternity leave no matter how long they have worked for their employer? Yes! The first 26 weeks of leave is known as Ordinary Maternity Leave and the second 26 weeks is Additional Maternity Leave. Employers will assume you're taking the full 52 weeks’ leave. If you want to go back to work before the 52 weeks, you must let your employer know the date you will return to work. What if I decide not to go back to work? You never have to pay back any SMP. If you are getting more than SMP, or if you're getting payments from your employer even

Fighting for cancer GMB and Macmillan help with cancer in the workplace

Four in 10 people in the UK will be affected by cancer at some stage of their life. Many cancer sufferers say that work is important to them, as a job can help restore normality, routine, stability, social contact and income. However, Macmillan Cancer Support has established two hard facts: 91 per cent of workers suffer a loss of income and/or increased costs as a result of cancer, and 48 per cent of cancer patients are not given any financial support information. Macmillan is keen to work with GMB in raising the profile on what can be done for 22


working people suffering the emotional and financial effects of cancer. GMB, which has long campaigned on the prevention of workplace

elptial Work getn h has an Essen

Macmilla le at at & Cancer Toolkit availab /work, .uk rg n.o illa cm ma w. ww for or call 0808 808 0000 a t jus or rt po sup , ers answ quick chat on the issues.

cancers, will be getting involved to roll out the issue on a regional basis with the help of workplace reps.


Bring these pages to life!


this could be you! Your chance to win a pair of tickets to Glastonbury.

A pair of tickets to Glastonbury Just register at and update your profile to enter!


ancy going to this year’s Glastonbury festival, taking place from 26–30 June? We’ve got a pair of tickets to give away in association with the Workers Beer Company. For your chance to win follow these steps to update your GMB profile on GMB’s new-look website.

Step 1

• Go to • Select ‘GMB members login’ • Enter your GMB membership number

and password or create a new password

Step 2

Last issue’s iPhone winner!

Select ‘update profile’ and enter your: Email address Mobile number Home address

Rex Features

•  •  • 

TERMS & CONDITIONS The winning entry will be drawn at random from fully financial GMB members only who register for/login to members area and update their GMB membership record with additional data before close of business on Friday 3 May 2013 . The winner will be notified by GMB. Prize is subject to availability. No purchase necessary. Entries from employees of GMB or their families will not be accepted. The winner must be prepared to participate in publicity arising from the competition. Winners’ names and photos may be published in future issues.

GMB member Mercedes Fernandez Regalado-Tivy won a brand new iPhone when she entered the prize draw in the last issue of GMB magazine.

she’s a winner! Mercedes receives her new iPhone from her GMB branch secretary Vaugha n West. 23



Be a life-saver from GMB All the news

GMB backs charity ACLT’s call for blood donors


here’s nothing more tragic than a young life needlessly lost, as Beverley De-Gale and Orin Lewis told GMB’s equality conference. Their son, Daniel, had battled for years with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia; a bloodrelated cancer. He had overcome many of the hurdles that a cancer sufferer faces, however at the age of 21; he tragically passed away from an unrelated illness. Aged eight Daniel needed a life-saving bone marrow transplant if he was to win his [then] three-year battle against leukaemia. At this time in 1996, there were only 550 donors from black communities on the entire UK bone marrow register. Sadly, for the black, mixed race and ethnic communities this translated to a one in 250,000 chance of

HAPPY FAMILY Beverley De-Gale and Orin Lewis with their son Daniel.

finding a matching bone marrow donor; compare this to the one in five chance for a white member of the UK population. Such statistics were the reason for Beverley and Orin forming the ACLT. For the past 17 years the charity’s few but hard-working staff and volunteers have recruited thousands of blood donors. There are now 40,000 people of minority ethnic origin on the UK bone marrow registers. This has improved the odds, but only to one in 100,000. It is the racially specific characteristics of bone marrow that mean compatible donors for black and mixed race sufferers must come from the black or mixed race population. GMB urges members to sign up to become a blood or organ donor, irrespective of racial origin,

but particularly if you are from a black, minority ethnic or mixed race community. Sufferers from these backgrounds are three times more likely to need an organ transplant but only one per cent of people on the NHS organ donor register are from this community! The ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) was inspired by Daniel. After his successful bone marrow transplant, he enjoyed a precious 12 years with his friends and family. To give other sufferers a similar opportunity, the charity raises awareness throughout the UK, to enable potential donors to come forward and make them potential life-savers. To join the bone marrow, blood or organ donation registers, or to make a financial donation, call the ACLT on 020 8240 4480 or visit

and change Have fun the world Verity Jones on why you should join Woodcraft Folk

SERIOUSLY FUN Woodcraft Folk members use fun to make a serious point.


You might have seen Woodcraft Folk at the TUC march in London last October. There were parents, children and volunteers of all ages in our group – having fun, but taking action on a serious issue at the same time. Woodcraft Folk is a movement for children and young people, which aims to help young people value the planet. We believe no one is too young to learn about social change, and that no one is too old to play games and have fun. We put all this into practice in our local groups, where all ages work together to make the world a fairer place. If you’ve got children, or if you want to volunteer for a youth movement that cares passionately about society and the environment, go along to your local Woodcraft Folk group. Find your closest group at Alternatively VERITY JONES email or call Verity loves being part 020 7703 4173. of Woodcraft Folk.



UPDATE from GMB All the news

the John Gibson wins TUC Organising Rep of the Year 2012


Boost for


GMB sets new rights for apprentices at Wolverhampton City Council


MB has joined forces with other recognised unions at Wolverhampton City Council to shape a charter for apprenticeships, designed to make sure all apprentices get fair treatment from employers in the workplace. A contract Apprentices are employees and should have a contract for at least the period of their training. A fair rate of pay If an apprentice does a full job they should be paid for it, or quickly progress to that point.


High quality training Employers must identify a clear programme of training during the apprenticeship. Apprentices should also be given time off the job to go to college, dedicated training centres or spend in private study. Access to a trade union The benefits of membership should be made clear to apprentices at induction.

Through the new charter, the council has committed to measures that will ensure apprentices are paid fairly and get the best experience from their course. The charter was created by GMB, UCATT, Unison, UNITE and unionlearn, and it confirms the following rights for apprentices: Supervision and mentoring Union learning representatives are ideally placed to provide support as mentors to apprentices. Accessible programmes Good apprenticeship programmes should be accessible to everyone.

MB Birmingham & West Midlands member, John Gibson, has been named TUC organising representative of the year. The award recognises the vital work of trade union representatives in the workplace. Each year, all trade unions nominate their top representatives. John, a GMB representative from Asda Lymedale, was nominated for his organising in the distribution centre, involving 24-hour recruitment days and arranging new organisers to BECOME represent members on all shifts.


A GM HealthB safety & www.gmb rep .org

gmbhsrep .uk/ Thanks to John’s hard work, GMB enjoyed a 99 per cent vote in favour of recognition at the distribution centre – the highest acceptance rate across all distribution centres in the UK. He has also been in negotiations on pay and conditions, resulting in a vote of 95 per cent acceptance, and increased GMB recruitment on-site by 25 per cent. John was an excellent candidate for this award. He stands for equality, fairness and social justice. GMB Birmingham & West Midlands would like to congratulate John on his award, and looks forward to working with him over the next 12 months.

Health and safety Young people are particularly vulnerable to accidents at work, so special attention must be paid to keep apprentices safe. Not job substitution Apprentices are taken on to fill genuine skills shortages and plan for future gaps – not for cheap labour or job substitution.

THE GREAT GIBSON John’s hard work has been rewarded. 25



from GMB All the news

YVETTE COOPER and JOE MORGAN Stamping out inequality at work.

Fighting for


GMB Regional Equalities Forum backs mental health reform and women’s rights


he Birmingham & West Midlands Regional Equalities Conference (REC) took place back in October 2012 and received a brilliant turn-out, with 35 delegates attending. Joe Morgan, GMB regional secretary, opened the conference, saying he was impressed with the diverse group of people showing their support. He spoke about how we are in the middle of one of the worst

economic crisis across the globe, and added that when there are economic problems this causes conflict, which usually leads to racism. Against this backdrop, GMB continues to push for equality. Other speakers included Ruth Smeeth, Hope Not Hate; Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary; Jagjit Singh, Thompsons Solicitors; Rob Johnston, TUC Midlands Regional Secretary.


r more information on how you can get involved in the fight for equality in the workplace, visit

The conference agreed two motions to go before the National Equalities Conference, which took place on 5 March 2013.

r for dfo ted th vote weevo nsw ions otio mot theem Mental health The first motion backed by the Regional Equalities Forum (REF) called on GMB’s National Equality Forum (NEF) and Central Executive Committee (CEC) to lobby all members of Parliament to change the current legislation in place for when a patient dies while detained under the Mental Health Act in a psychiatric unit. Under current rules, when someone dies while sectioned under the Mental Health Act, there is no legal obligation to conduct an independent inquiry before an inquest. However, this right exists for people who die 26

in other forms of state detention such as police custody or serving a prison sentence. When a patient dies in a mental institution, the same NHS trust that was responsible for the patient’s care and welfare when they were alive will conduct their own inquiry, and this is where the problems often lie.

Sometimes the inquiries can be delayed due to lack of resources, which delays the coroners’ Inquest. But more importantly, the coroner’s Inquest will be based on the evidence provided by the trust rather than the evidence of an independent inquiry. In 2011 an independent advisory reported that between 1 January 2000 and 31 December

“Six patients a week die while sectioned under the mental health act.”

SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT 2010 there were 5,998 deaths recorded of people under state detention. Shockingly, 61 per cent – or 3,628 – of these deaths were patients detained under the Mental Health Act. None of these deaths were subject to an independent inquiry. The REF believes changes should be made to the current system, making it compulsory that an independent enquiry takes place.

Pregnancy discrimination Research by the Equal Opportunities Commission in 2005 found that 30,000 women lost their jobs every year as a result of unlawful pregnancy discrimination. The same research found that half of all pregnant women in the workforce experienced some form of pregnancy-related discrimination. Laws are in place to protect womens’ rights but the government does not collect any data specifically on pregnancy-related problems at work, so they have no idea how widespread the problem is. Many employers complain maternity rights are a burden on business and some are breaking the law, but nothing is being done about it. Too many pregnant women and new mothers are being squeezed out of the workforce, resulting in more families struggling to make ends meet, putting more demands on the welfare system and reducing income tax receipts for the government. The REC called on the REF and the NEF to campaign to raise awareness of women’s rights and to highlight the discrimination of pregnant women and new mothers that occurs in the workplace. The REC also asked the CEC to lobby MPs to make sure that pregnant women and new mothers’ experiences in the labour market are tracked and action is taken to stop any abuse. The CEC should stress the importance of maternity rights both for families and the economy and insist MPs challenge negative comments whenever they are made.


“30,000 lose their job every year as a result of cy unlawful pregnan discrimination.”

BABY BLUES Pregnant women face discrimination.


election results

rg gmbrm .uk/ a

The GMB representatives standing up for equality in your region Regional Equalities Forum Committee

National Equalities Forum Conference 2013

Disability Forum

Anti-Fascist Forum

LGBT Forum

Black Members Women’s Forum Forum

Roger Jones

Margaret Clarke

Kevin Chester

Sharon Harding

Paul Bowman Sharon Harding

Sharon Harding

Madam Lal

Roger Jones

John Hanaphy

Delcan Downes

Delcan Downes

Delcan Downes

Annette Greenwood

Val Mitchell

Liz McLachlan

Dianne Davies

Elaine Daley

Miriam Clift

Elaine Daley

Madam Lal

Val Mitchell

Tony Hackett

Delcan Downes

Liz McLachlan

Pat Lewis

Sarah James

Margaret Clarke

Miriam Clift Sharon Harding (Race)


Gordon Richardson (Chair) Blasej Gorski (Migrant Workers) 27



from GMB All the news

e h t g n i c u d e r s i B GM

GMB welcomes new asbestos guidance for schools and colleges

risk G

CLASS ACT GMB is helping schools deal with asbestos problems.

MB has welcomed new asbestos guidance for schools and colleges that it campaigned for as a member of the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC). The guidelines have now been agreed to by the the Department for Education. More than 75 per cent of Britain’s state schools contain asbestos, according to Asbestos in Schools: the need for action report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health. Julie Winn, JUAC Chair, says, “The new guidance is a step in the right direction in the campaign to make all UK schools and colleges safe from the dangers of asbestos. It has never been more important that head teachers, bursars and school managers know how to manage the asbestos in their schools, and JUAC calls for mandatory asbestos management training. This online guidance is a injured good starting point.” ? orgk atww Find out more – and read asbestos .uk/ r .o ww .gmbatwork guidance – at injured

SAVed! GMB battles to save jobs at Staffordshire County Council

GMB has been successful in reducing the number of job losses at Staffordshire County Council. While more than 4,000 jobs have been axed in the past two years, the original number proposed was far greater. However, there are 4,132 fewer employees at the council since the first quarter of 2010, the biggest fall of any local authority in the West Midlands outside of Birmingham. Joe Morgan, GMB regional secretary, said, “This government has engineered the most savage attack on public services ever seen. As Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, has said, public service workers 28

carry no blame at all for the financial crisis, yet they are carrying most of the burden while the banks are bailed out, utility prices spiral up and company bosses trouser even bigger pay packets.” Against this backdrop, the reduction in job cuts at Staffordshire shows how important GMB membership is – now more than ever!

on the rise Meanwhile, Derbyshire County Council has posted some encouraging figures. It was one of few local authorities to increase its number of employees in the Midlands, taking on an extra 4,600 staff since 2010.

SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT


“Being in GMB is about standing up to obtain the fair treatment that we are entitled to.” GMB workplace organiser Liz McLachlan wants women to get active and do more for GMB


eing a GMB member has always been important to me, but I did not take an active role until I became a GMB workplace organiser in 2003 at the Dudley primary school where I work as a teaching assistant. Through my job working with children with special needs, I became very aware of the importance of equal opportunities and began taking an interest in equality issues. In 2006, I was elected C80 Branch Equality Officer and elected onto Regional Council in 2009. Since 2011, I have been allocated 15 hours per week facility time, which I spend working mostly with GMB school support members throughout Dudley.

women at work In my job, I encounter a range of issues that affect women at work and at home. Many teaching assistants are employed on short-term contracts, causing constant worry about whether they will still have a job next term. Child benefit and tax credits are being reduced and childcare costs are increasing, making it difficult for low-paid mothers to continue working. Maternity pay and maternity leave are also being eroded. These are some of the issues affecting GMB members that I want to challenge and change. Earlier this year, I applied for a place on GMB Regional Equality Forum (REF) and was elected to lead on women’s issues.

House of Commons library research shows that the changes this government has announced since the 2010 election mean that even though women earn less and own less than men, they are paying three times as much towards bringing the deficit down. Half of the 622,000 GMB members are female, so together we can make our voice heard and show this government we will not tolerate the bad treatment we are receiving. I want women to understand that being in GMB is about standing up to obtain the rights and fair treatment that we are entitled to.

women’s day In celebration of International Women’s Day, GMB Birmingham & West Midlands region hosted a Women’s Convention on 9 March 2013. To find our more about future events, contact Liz. Call her on 01384 815 055 or email

get active in gmb Find out more at 29



from GMB All the news

200 jobs saved

West Midlands Remploy factories to stay open


wo Remploy factories that were earmarked for closure have been saved, throwing a lifeline to around 200 disabled workers. GMB has campaigned for Remploy workers in the West Midlands. Remploy revealed that the sites in Birmingham and Coventry, and a sister plant at Derby, are to be marketed for sale, rather than closed. The sites are a viable business with a strong customer base. As such, Remploy does not propose to make any of the employees in this business redundant – for now. The three Midlands sites are the only factories from a total of 54 nationwide which have been granted a potential future, with 875 Remploy workers facing the axe across the UK. The latest cutbacks follow the closure of 24 Remploy sites in August 2012. Leeds closed last year, back in November. Leicester and Stoke-on-Trent factories were due to close later on in the year. Less than 40 of the 1,200 redundant workers have so far found jobs.

A LIFELINE Jobs for 200 Remploy workers are out of danger.

IT ALL ADDS UP Branch secretaries get their training.

stuart harrison

making branches Branches get accountancy training Following a Congress 2012 decision, the region held two training sessions, one for branch secretaries and the other for branch auditors in November last year. Both training sessions were well attended and there was a wealth of experience in both groups. Newly-appointed branch secretaries were able to further their knowledge of the branch accounting system. The branch auditors’ training was the first session organised. The feedback was very 30

positive and auditors felt that the training was useful to enable them to carry out their role more effectively and confidently. Kate Caswell, who administered the training, will be holding future sessions and writing to anyone who was unable to attend the training in November. For further details, or if you would like to attend the next training session, please contact Kate at the regional office. Details of the regional office are on the opposite page.

david warwick

New Starters

GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Region has recently appointed two new officers, Stuart Harrison David Warwick. Stuart will be based in theTewkesbury office and responsible for utilities sector. David will be working from Halesowen regional office and will be responsible for the retail sector. GMB and its members welcome both of them and wish them well in their new roles.

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GMB’s under-10 all-stars GMB S85 are avid football supporters and now they’re investing in the next generation of strikers! S85 branch are sponsoring Wednesbury Sports Union FC (Under 10s). The talented team are currently second in the Bilston Partnership Youth Football League

and they’ve been booked to attend a three-day tournament in May at Camber Sands, East Sussex.

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Contact If you have a problem at work and need advice, in the first instance speak to your GMB workplace organiser. Alternatively, contact your local GMB office.

GMB Regional Office Will Thorne House, 2 Birmingham Road, Halesowen B63 3HP T: 0121 550 4888 F: 0121 550 4272 E:


GMB welcomes a new baby boy! GMB Birmingham & West Midlands is celebrating the arrival of a new member. We are pleased to announce that GMB organiser, Neil Williams, and his wife,

HELLO HARRY Welcome to the world, baby Williams

Louise had a bouncing baby boy, Harry, on 16 October 2012, weighing in at 6lb 15oz. GMB would like to congratulate Neil and Louise.

Suite 2, Ground Floor, Mill Court, Mill Street, Stafford ST16 2AJ T: 01785 255 978 F: 01785 255 975

GMB TAMWORTH Office Ventura House, Ventura Park Road, Tamworth B78 3HL T: 01827 66001 F: 01827 312 792

GMB TEWKESBURY Office Ground Floor, Unit C1, The Courtyard, Severn Drive, Tewkesbury GL20 8GD T: 01684 290 650 F: 01684 290 651

GMB CONTACTS Education, health and safety, and equality Gillian Whittaker Young members Gillian Whittaker Legal Andrea Austin Membership development David Day Political officer Stephanie Peacock

GMB regional website We are planning on displaying GMB branch banners in the main hall at Congress 2013. If you would like your branch banner to be displayed at GMB Congress 2013 please contact

Samantha Jones, GMB regional editor, on 0121 550 4888 or e-mail, who will make the arrangements for getting it there and back to you.

search for GMB West Midlands @GMBWestMidlands 31


The GMB magazine for the Birmigham & West Midlands region

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