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The magazine for GMB members


Summer 2013

equal measures GMB pushes for equality at work

ss e r g n o C winner Margaret Gregg receives GMB equality award!

WIN a Toyota Aygo See p15 worth ÂŁ9,000

Get reADY For

4 1 0 2 S S ConGre ision making! c e d B M G f o rt a p e b ce to Don’t miss your chan is is built on ion will follow – but th y s what polices the un de ci de ss re . So if you’re not alread ng ar ye Co e B th M G of st re e th e branches over ch meetings take plac an Br t. the hard work of GMB ar st to e m ti e ch, now’s th . involved in your bran to make a difference ce an ch ur yo e ar d an regularly


ss 2014... To attend GMB Congre by your branch You must be nominated weeks -up GMB member for 53 id pa a en be ve ha t us You m ice must reach regional off ns io ot m ’s ch an br ur Yo by 31 January 2014 am, 8–12 June 2014 gh tin ot n in e ac pl s ke GMB Congress ta

• • •


Find your GMB branch on your membership card or ask your GMB workplace organiser. Alternatively, check your profile at

Working together to protect you Specialist insurance for you and your family Working with GMB, Towergate Insurance has launched a range of lifestyle insurance products designed to take the sting out of everyday dramas. As a GMB member you could benefit from product discounts and exclusive enhanced cover. • Gadget Insurance: protection for the breakdown, damage or theft of your essential electronic equipment from £2.99 per month.

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Paul McCarthy etary GMB regional secr

The start of the road to Kilimanjaro Page 25


Get GMB in your pocket with the new mobile app Page 14


4 Paying tribute

9 Congress

6 Austerity battle

11 Paul Kenny says

Remembering on Workers’ Memorial Day Fighting the cuts at the TUC conference

7 Injury compensation

Make sure you get what you’re entitled to

8 Congress

All the news from GMB Congress in Plymouth A word from your general secretary

12 Political candidates

Meet GMB’s Labour candidates

14 GMB in your pocket

Our region’s report from Plymouth

GMB’s mobile app can keep you in the loop

25 African adventure

15 Win a car!

Jacqui Feeley’s Kilimanjaro charity climb

26 Welfare worries

Your chance to win a Toyota Aygo

16 Striking a light

How cuts to benefits will affect you

Commemorating the matchwomen’s strike

28 Equality now

17 Take a break

Aiming for equal rights for all workers

29 Pensions

Help for women who need a holiday

19 Free our pubs

What can you expect in retirement?

How sky-high rents are shutting our pubs

30 Time to learn

22 Selling services

31 Contact GMB

24 Members’ statement

The workplace organisers’ course Names and numbers you can call

GMB regional editor Terry Mellor: 01928 572 726 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 Tracy Nugent Art directors Stuart Hobbs, Dermot Rushe Director, Future Plus UK Jayne Caple Printed at St Ives Direct

Why public services must remain public

GMB’s annual statement and audit

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 Fusion magazine? Please contact Steve Hulbert on 01225 442 244 (ex 5205) Accepting of advertising and inserts 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.

Margaret moved Congress to tears Welcome to the Summer edition of Fusion. Regional delegates have recently got back from another successful GMB Congress in Plymouth with speakers moving and debating motions on a variety of subjects, including health and social care and other important issues affecting GMB members and their families. Ian Lowes made a rousing speech on the shameful practice of blacklisting that has affected GMB members and activists whose only “crime” was to try and get better health and safety conditions, only to have their names passed around an industry that then refused to employ them. GMB has recently lodged legal cases in the high court and we will pursue those vigorously. Congratulations also to first time delegates David Hughes and Alan McLean who moved motions on Ofgen cuts and a strategy for gas. I was particularly proud to welcome to Congress Margaret Aspinall and Sue Roberts from the Hillsborough Family Support Group. Margaret moved Congress to tears as she spoke about the fight she and the group had been involved with over the years following the terrible tragedy at Hillsborough in 1989, when 96 football supporters were killed and hundreds more injured. The group are now closer to achieving recognition of the truth and identifying those involved in a wicked cover up that went all the way up to government. We look at the impact of the government’s austerity measures on welfare and benefits. Almost 7 million working households will be affected by the changes, with somewhere between 1 and 2 million families no longer receiving any support at all. We call on a future Labour government to commit to reversing these cuts and immediately stopping the bedroom tax. 03

l a n o i g e r


Updat your GMe Prof B www.gmb ile .or

GMB m o r f s w e n All the

Time to

TREE PLANTING CEREMONY The Mayor planted a tree with chidren from Lisanally Special School.


e th s s o r c a m o fr s r e b m e GMB m region remember the fallen for Workers’ Memorial Day


RING OF REMEMBRANCE Remembering the GMB members who lost their lives.


n 28 April every year we remember all those workers who have been killed, injured and who are suffering ill health while pursuing their occupations. It has never been more important than it is now to defend the right for workers to return home safely from their place of work. That, surely, is a basic right for all and is something GMB will continue to campaign for. Unfortunately, we are seeing attacks by the Coalition government on health and safety and the spreading of myths claiming health and safety is a burden on businesses. The people who spread these myths should visit families who have had loved ones killed at work, and those who

suffer terminal illness as a result of being exposed to hazardous processes while carrying out their job. GMB North West and Irish region gives the health and safety of our members the highest priority. GMB workplace organisers and safety reps ensure we maintain our commitment to safety and we highly value the job they do.

GMB leads the way Workers’ Memorial Day continues to increase its profile year on year, and events with GMB involvement taking place in Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Northern Ireland. GMB has for many years taken a lead role in organising the joint GM hazards, FACK (Families Against Corporate Killers) and trade

SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT

NEVER FORGET Remember the dead, fight for the living.


super market sweep REGIONAL OFFICE Staff at the regional office held a minute’s silence.

speakers included representatives from union event in Manchester. Planning for this local trade unions, local MPs, Asbestos event begins in January and the Local GMB Awareness and Solicitors. in involved 115 branch reps are heavily was event year’s This march. the ng organisi a huge success with an excellent turnout. northern ireland Dave Schofield 115 branch and Ross Following last year’s initiative, in which the Farrington deserve a mention for their hard region supported a local Liverpool school work in helping put the event together. with its after-school project, this year GMB Another event held on Friday 26 April at supported the children from Lisanally GMB’s regional office in Liverpool was Special School. The memorial service regional attended by staff, officers, was held at Armagh City & District reps. ce workpla and s solicitor Council on 29 April and the children Speakers included Ken Lowe RHSO, of Lisanally School presented GMB regional president Dougie Henry, artwork to commemorate this with y Bernie Cleary branch secretar special day. Speeches were made Liverpool John Lennon airport. This by The Lord Mayor of the was followed by a minute’s Council and John silence and the laying of a Dawson on behalf of wreath by regional GMB. A tree was president Dougie Henry. ceremoniously Also, Merseyside planted along with a Joint Trade Unions plaque in honour of organised a those who died in commemoration WARM WORDS the course of their at the Pier Head Ken Lowe honours employment. in Liverpool and the fallen.

Join GMB’s Asda recruitment drive For the first time in our joint history covering almost 40 years, Asda has agreed to let GMB run rolling access to 50 stores across the country to speak to Asda colleagues about GMB and the benefits of membership. GMB already looks after thousands of GMB members working in Asda all over the UK and this is a chance to increase that number, making GMB even stronger in the workplace. There are more Asda members in the North West and Irish region than any other GMB region so we play a key role in making GMB stronger in Asda. So far the tour has been a very positive exercise and should lead to a much more open, constructive relationship between GMB and Asda. The stores in this trial are:

• Wigan • Birchwood • Huyton • Pilsworth • Aintree • Walton • Burnley • Hulme If it all goes well we could be coming to a store near you soon!

5 05



from GMB All the news

Not so easy GMB steps in to help members fly to Ukrainian orphanage


embers of a football team including GMB branch secretary Robert Mitchell found their plans to donate gifts to a Ukrainian orphanage put in jeopardy by the stubbornness of EasyJet. Despite the fact the team had already spent £4,000 on flights, the airline wanted to charge them even more to transport crates of toys and educational materials out to the orphanage in Lviv. Luckily, GMB was on hand to pay the costs, but Robert pointed out, “It has left a sour taste in our mouth.” GMB’s 224 branch has been working hard to improve the lives of orphans in the city of Lviv. As well as raising funds, the team also spent time painting rooms in the orphanage while in the city for a match. If you want to help these charitable footie fans, contact Robert Mitchell on 07742 243 309.

The fight IS on!

injured k? at www.gmb

GMB members at the TUC conference vow to fight austerity


FIGHTING FIT GMB members are ready to fight austerity.

“Austerity cuts are biting hard in the North West”

Rex Features/iStock x 6

UNION ROYLE-TY The Royle Family’s Ricky Tomlinson attended.

GMB members from the North West and Irish region attended the North West TUC annual conference in Manchester on 9 March. The conference saw all unions voting to fight the austerity cuts, which are biting particularly hard in the North West, where food banks are showing a 100 per cent increase and youth unemployment is steadily rising. Defending the NHS was also unanimously voted through, as the Con-Dem government is slowly dismantling our health service, placing patient care well behind cost efficiencies. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady spoke of resisting cuts, resisting privatisation and taking public ownership of care and rail. She also made a case for a new economy driven not by debt but by fair wages. The guest speaker was Ricky Tomlinson, who is part of a campaign to get the government to release information relating to the Shrewsbury 24. To help this cause, members are encouraged to sign the online petition is here:

Personal injury or disease regional compensation claim form (TU56)

SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT

Accident or illness – you could be entitled to compensation (at work, on the road or on holiday*) Our members and their families are covered by GMB’s free** legal service that will cover your legal expenses if you claim for accidents or injuries or if you become ill as a result of your work. You will keep 100 per cent of the compensation and your family members are covered too for non work-related accidents/injuries. If you have had an accident that wasn’t your fault in the last three years you can register a claim by completing this TU56 form and sending it to: GMB Columbus Quay, Riverside Drive, Liverpool L3 4GB or simply call Colin Webster on 0151 728 2901

1 Member’s details Title

First name(s)

Membership No.

Surname Date of Birth






Gender (M/F)

2 Claimant’s details If different from above, ie family member Title

First name(s)

Membership No.

Surname Date of Birth






Gender (M/F)

3 Details of accident or disease Date of accident

Place of accident

Details of accident/disease - Please provide brief details, how it happened and the type of injuries caused. In the case of industrial disease, include the illness and the working conditions that may have caused it.

*Accidents outside the UK are only covered where the case can be pursued through the courts in England and Wales. **Subject to rule. 07



from GMB All the news

Ship shape

in Plymouth All the news from your region at GMB Congress


MB North West & Irish region is celebrating another successful Congress after delegates attended GMB’s annual conference in and visitors Plymouth. More than 60 delegates ing forward putt , part took n regio the ss from acro of issues. e and debating motions on a wide rang aret Marg s gres Con On the opening day of ily Fam ugh boro Hills the Aspinall, Chair of ing and Support Group (HFSG), gave a mov in May 1989 ded foun was G HFS ch. spee iring insp d ones in love lost who by the majority of families ium in stad ugh boro Hills at the football disaster ther to toge e cam lly initia p grou The Sheffield. of the support each other in the aftermath g campaign stron a ht disaster and they have foug ened. happ t wha t abou to bring out the truth for state of y etar secr ow shad ker spea Guest by d tione health, Andy Burnham was ques t, who Dougie Henry, GMB regional presiden the NHS. in ing work s year 37 t himself has spen tioned GMB member Brian Davies also ques ers. work him about the plight of disable by the ard forw put ions Some of the mot l Care rpoo Live 201 ion Mot ded region inclu about phy Mur ela Ang by ed mov way, Path sick the terrible practices of depriving

CONGRESS HIGHLIGHTS From above left: Ian Lowes speaks on blacklisting; Paul Evans, Margaret Aspinall, Sue Roberts and Paul McCarthy; Margaret Gregg receives her Presiden t’s Leadership Award; John McDonell; Arthur Moss. 08

relief. Angela people of food and drink and pain elines. guid ate opri appr called for strict and Michael by ed mov was Care al Motion 313 Soci ent as cuts rnm gove y lobb to call a with ke Clar themselves. leave vulnerable people to fend for on the ch spee ing rous Ian Lowes made a He called ing. klist blac of tice prac unacceptable cils to coun l for GMB to use its influence on loca s firm to rded awa block contracts from being ing. klist blac in lved who have been invo and Alan First-time delegates David Hughes on Ofgen 143 and 142 ions Mot ed mov ean McL cuts and a strategy for gas. Gregg won Doing the region proud, Margaret Equality. for rd Awa ip ersh Lead t’s the Presiden negotiated a and pay l equa for ned paig cam She hern Ireland Childcare Voucher Scheme with Nort Individual nal iratio Insp t Mos Electricity. She won k. Wor at or GMB the in on Equality ry GMB regional president Dougie Hen n. He regio our from congratulated all delegates and tly ligen intel e said: “Delegates spok affecting passionately on a variety of matters stries in both indu all in ing work bers mem GMB ocracy is alive the public and private sector. Dem held up as a be ld shou we and well in GMB and ns.” unio e trad r othe to fine example

congress 2013


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From blacklisting to badgers, George Fraser reports on a successful GMB Congress


he sun shone on Plymouth in June, making it the perfect setting for GMB Congress. But the weather wasn’t the only thing dazzling delegates as a roster of speakers inspired members with their stories. Emma LewellBuck addressed Congress – and what a breath of fresh air she is! The first woman MP in South Shields and a GMB member, Emma is a tribute to GMB’s policy of getting real people into the House of Commons, a tribute to our new political team and a tribute to our activists in the Northern region. Congress also received a video message from Ed Miliband, and Andy Burnham, shadow secretary of state for health, came to speak and answer questions about the NHS. Another high-profile speaker was author and newspaper columnist Owen Jones. His

address made real sense and coincided with our own GMB values.

blacklist battle The evil of blacklisting was brought home to us by Dave Smith, who told his heartbreaking story. He was denied work for years because he complained about health and safety, and the details held about him by the Consulting Association would do credit to the KGB. But I was struck by his resilience. He will not give in and it is for Dave and the other 3,212 on the blacklist that we must win the blacklisting campaign. GMB has lodged a High Court action for defamation on behalf of 90 GMB members affected against the companies that funded the blacklist.

GEORGE FRASER ss. re Reports from Cong

Many delegates when looking at the list of blacklisted workers from their particular area, especially in Scotland, recognised a good number of names and Phil Read, GMB’s blacklisting liaison officer, will be contacting each of them to see if we need to add them to the court case.

On the Blacklist?

Contact Phil Read, GMB blacklisting liaison officer, on 07840 897 997 or

plymouth, 2–6 june 09



from GMB All the news

BADGER OF HONOUR GMB members spoke out against the badger cull.


SAVE OUR SERVICES Andy Burnham backs GMB’s fight for the NHS.

The most inspirational speech of the week was That is a debt GMB will by Margaret Aspinall of the Hillsborough never be able to repay. Family Support Group. She spoke with feeling, He listed the expectations of GMB on a new without notes and I am certain there was not Labour Government, telling the Labour Party, a dry eye in the house by the time she finished “be bold, be radical, be truthful.” He urged her story. Let down by government after them to build council housing with the money government and suffering the indignity of lost currently being paid to private landlords for loved ones having to undergo CRB checks, she shoddy housing, put a stop to the tax dodging carried on until the of multinational battle was won. She companies that profit showed incredible from UK workers, and k wee a determination in the make all companies 5p a on ded deci ss GMB Congre from face of South pay a living wage, increase in GMB subscription rates ime rate removing the burden Yorkshire police 1 October 2013. Therefore the full-t month) bridging the gap force’s resolve to will become £2.75 a week (£11.92 a £1.60 a me beco will rate e -tim part the and lie, falsify and deny between people’s king week (£6.94 a month). Members wor any complicity in wages and their daily k wor as school support staff and who the deaths of those needs from the k wee per 0 £1.6 pay will 28 hours or less 96 people. benefits system. (£6.94 per month). Jan Jepson of GMB He also pushed for Northern region and employment rights from the Julie Hunt of GMB London region eloquently first day at a new job and for agency workers moved and seconded composite 17. That to enjoy exactly the same employment rights motion was about Orgreave during the miners’ as permanent staff. Delegates also heard how strike in 1984 and 1985. It is asking for a public GMB’s Living Wage Campaign has progressed inquiry into the atrocities of that same to more than 100 councils, which now pay scumbag police force on the picket line at their staff a living wage. Orgreave. If there is any justice in this world, Other issues covered by Congress the police officers on the picket line will be included domestic violence, badger sent to Wakefield prison, the same prison culling and the scourge of pay day where so many of our innocent miner brothers loan companies. GMB also were incarcerated. revealed the cost of dying (see GMB general secretary Paul Kenny page 20) the impact of rising addressed the crowd on Tuesday and drew fuel prices and the scandal of a standing ovation. The financial report on housing benefit enriching Wednesday showed how secure GMB is in his private landlords at the hands. We should not forget, colleagues, that cost of families he has sacrificed a well-deserved retirement to without a decent steer GMB through a potentially difficult time. place to live.

Rates increase


The contributions of the 500 delegates were better than any Congress I can remember and I am amazed at the number of first time delegates. All of them performed magnificently.

Dynamic delegates Caroline Campbell of GMB Scotland spoke in support of the Mental Health motion. It was not only her first time as a delegate it was her first ever day in Congress. Other first-time speakers also got great responses. But seriously, you were all great and it’s not only your performances which made this Congress memorable. You were all elected or appointed, under rule, to attend what is the parliament of GMB and you have carried out that duty with honour. You were so good you turned over the CEC three times. Colleagues, that is democracy alive and well and living in GMB. On behalf of the Mary Turner, GMB national president, Malcolm Sage, GMB national vice president, Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary and all of the Central Executive Council (CEC), I salute you.

EMOTIONAL TALE Margaret Aspinall (left) with GMB President Mary Turner.

Paul kenn y


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


have just spent a wonderful week in Plymouth in the company of nearly 1,000 GMB delegates, visitors and guests at GMB’s annual Congress. The contributions from members gave all who were present or who watched on GMB Congress TV an insight into the varied problems facing people in the world of work and beyond. The media and certain politicians like to portray trade unions as unrepresentative of their members or even sometimes attack what we do as undemocratic. GMB Congress is our Parliament, but unlike the phoney democracy of Westminster, ours actually is run by our members to guide and direct GMB in its work.

HOUSING FOR ALL Over the last 10 years our Congress has warned successive governments about corporate tax avoidance, bankers’ bonuses, private equity buy outs and the loss of corporation tax and so many other matters that at the time politicians ignored, but who now wring their hands and say how terrible these abuses are. The truth is that it was politicians that created the loopholes for corporations like Google, Starbucks, Amazon and hundreds of others to use. While the Daily Mail and George Osborne attack the millions of working people who have to rely on benefits to make ends meet, the billions of untaxed

profits made by these companies continue to flow out of the UK and into the slimy hands of corporate greed. And now GMB has exposed the scandal of billions of pounds of housing benefit being paid to private landlords, many of whom are companies based overseas to avoid tax in this country. £23bn a year is paid in housing benefit because we have failed to build affordable homes. Find out more, at The right-to-buy scheme put up in the early 1980s was a political vote catcher for the Tory government at the time, but in reality it was the privatisation of our social and council housing stock. And like all privatisation of our country’s assets, the corporations make a killing and the public get a worse service and bigger bills. Those in housing being squeezed by higher and higher rents whilst at the same time having a cap put on what support they can get shows the government doesn’t care about the have nots or those working poor who can’t afford a deposit for a house let alone find a mortgage.

TIME FOR COURAGE If only we had the courage to cap the rents and build homes for people, not only would we eventually cut the housing benefit scam payments to landlords, but we would get people back to work and the economy would benefit.

If only we had the courage to introduce a living wage for all instead of millions of workers having to apply for benefits to supplement their low wages. Companies would have to show their books and profits, a sort of corporate means testing. If working people have to be subsidised by the state then we should be sure these companies, which include tax avoiders making vast profits, pay their workers a living wage. Companies where the chief executive is paid 500 times the minimum wage, yet their workers require state support – that needs addressing.

REMPLOY SCANDAL As many people at Congress said, while Starbucks dodges its commitments to the country and makes huge profits, Remploy workers in their thousands have been thrown on the scrapheap. Politicians were responsible for both of those situations and the quicker we get more GMB members into the House of Commons to challenge this corrupt system the better. One last word, treat yourself to a visit to the York Disabled Workers Co-operative website at This is a group of ex-Remploy workers fighting back and trying to build decent jobs. This government will come and go, our job is to make sure we never stop fighting for the decent life everyone in GMB and indeed our country has a right to expect. 11



from GMB All the news CATH SPEIGHT GMB national politcal officer.

“We have introduced political education for new workplace representatives on the GMB@WORK courses to help members learn more about the way we are governed and how to get involved in the Labour Party. “We are in good shape to make sure that in the forthcoming elections for Europe and Westminster we can support our candidates who share GMB aspirations and understand the problems our GMB members face.”

nancy platts, birghton kemptown Nancy Platts has been selected as the Labour candidate in Brighton Kemptown, where Labour needs just a small swing to beat the Tories in 2015. Nancy was supported by trade unions across the region and it's easy to see why – she spent the morning of her selection marching with Brighton's striking City Clean workers. Nancy has spent her life campaigning for social justice because she saw first-hand how unfair the system was – she started work at the London Fire Brigade at the age of 18 because her family couldn't afford for her to go to university. She studied at night school to get her qualifications. She's worked for a trade union, for the Child Poverty Action Group and health campaigns. “GMB was a huge, practical support during my selection campaign. Now I'm selected I want to work across the entire Labour movement – because that's where my roots are – to make sure we get the policies and representation we need for working people. The hard work starts now to get rid of the Tory MP here. I hope GMB members will join me on the doorstep soon!”

Look at our

s e c c u s

All these GMB members are making inroads to Parliament Emma Lewell-Buck Mp, South Shields


email me at 12

mma is North East born and bred and is a long-standing GMB member. She has a long history in the region – her dad worked on Tyneside shipyards and she is the direct descendent of a town hero who famously (in South Shields!) invented the lifeboat. Before the by-election last month, she was working as a social worker locally and representing her area on the local council.

“I’m a working class lass from the North East and a long-standing GMB member. My dad worked in the shipyards and I was the first in my family to go to university. After university I trained as a social worker and have been on the front line ever since. Now I’m on the front line of politics, fighting against this government’s damaging policies, as South Shields’ first female MP and a GMB MP as well.”

SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT

NATional email me at

Sarah Owen, Hastings and Rye Sarah Owen is a former GMB rep who was born and raised in her constituency. At the moment she is working for the Labour Party on living wage campaigns and opening up the policy process, but she has plenty of real life experience too, having worked countless shifts caring for patients at the Conquest Hospital, planning for large scale emergencies in the fire service

and getting to know how local councils in East Sussex work. “As a former GMB rep and someone who has worked on the front line of public service, the support of my union has been a huge boost. Hastings and Rye is a marginal seat we have to win if we want a Labour government. I’m looking forward to working with members to make that happen.”

Clive Lewis, Norwich South


Operation Black Vote and their Clive was born into a working programme to shadow MPs. class family with a Grenadian “It’s incredibly important father and English mother. He that Labour looks and sounds was the first person in his like the country if we’re to family to go to university, rebuild trust and convince which is where he first people to vote for us again. got involved in I’m proud to be supported politics. He served in by GMB. My message to Helmand with the members is if you don’t like Territorial Army and what’s happening has worked as a BBC to our country, journalist. He has get involved also been and help us an active email me at change it.” part of


email me at

Vicky Foxcroft, Lewisham Deptford Vicky grew up in the North West in a single parent family. When she was younger her family was made homeless and spent much of her childhood moving from place to place and school to school. Thanks to a second chance in education and the support of her teachers, she was the first person in her family to go to university. She currently works for Unite, the union, representing low-paid workers

in the financial sector, and is a councillor in the area where she was selected. “I’m proud to be a working class candidate selected to fight the seat where I live for Labour. It’s important to make sure people in parliament actually understand people’s lives – we need more common sense in the policy process! That’s why I stood. I’m looking forward to working with GMB in the run-up to 2015.”

Lisa Forbes, Peterborough Lisa Forbes is a GMB member and mum of four who has lived in Peterborough for 25 years. Over the years she’s done jobs from potato picking to working in a DIY shop to being a travel agent at Thomas Cook. When the Tories were elected, she decided she couldn’t sit by and see what happened in the 1980s happen to her community and her family. She stood for council, winning a previously safe Tory ward for Labour, and is now Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Peterborough. “GMB is my union and was behind me during my selection. I’m a working class woman, and

mum, who remembers what a Tory government meant for people like me last time around. People are struggling again and I couldn’t stand by and watch history repeat itself. Now GMB is helping me to take the fight to the Tories in Peterborough – I’ve never been more email me at proud to be a member.” 13



from GMB All the news


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MB members who want to get more from their membership should register online. Just go to and select ‘GMB Member Login’ to access a world of GMB extras. Signing up is easy, you just need your GMB membership number and a password.

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a toyota aygo worth £9,000

Exclusive GMB prize draw to win a Toyota Aygo, simply by switching your GMB subscription payment to Direct Debit


e in with a chance to win this gorgeous car and Apple gear, regardless of whether you already pay by Direct Debit or are switching now. There is a second prize of an iPad, and third prize is the latest iPhone. The draw closes at midnight on Monday 16 September 2013. Reasons to switch to Direct Debit • As some employers frown on trade unions, paying your GMB subscription by Direct Debit means that your membership is a matter for you alone and no one, including your employer, will know unless you tell them yourself. • You won’t lose your GMB membership as

the result of an administrative slip-up in your payroll office. • Your membership will follow you if you change jobs with your current employer. • Your membership will follow you if you change jobs and get a new employer. Reasons to switch away from check-off • Check-off is the system where your GMB subscription comes out of your wages. GMB pays an administration fee on this which costs thousands of pounds a year. • Help GMB make that saving by switching away from check-off to Direct Debit and you will automatically be entered into this exclusive prize draw.

TERMS & CONDITIONS The winning entry will be drawn at random from GMB members only who pay their GMB subscription by Direct Debit. It will be drawn after midnight on the closing date of Monday 16 September. The winner will be notified by GMB. No purchase necessary. The winner’s name and photo may be published in future issues. The GMB prize draw is open to GMB members who are fully financial at midnight on Monday 16 September 2013. This prize draw is not open to any GMB employees or members of their families. The result of the draw is final. All entrants agree to publicity in GMB material. Only one entry per eligible GMB member.

how to enter Go to and click the link to switch to Direct Debit. You can also use the Move To Direct Debit button on the GMB app, which you can download from Don’t forget to tell your employer to cease your check-off payment. You can still enter the prize draw if you already pay by Direct Debit. Simply go to and press the button to enter the competition – good luck!

Last issue’s Glasto tickets winner GMB member Erika Radu of GMB Northern Region won a pair of Glastonbury tickets in the prize draw in the last issue of the magazine. 15



from GMB All the news

Striking a light! celebrate the matchwomen Author Louise Raw celebrates the founders of working women’s rights


n 6 July the first annual Matchwomen’s Festival was held in London. The festival celebrated the start of the modern movement for workers’ rights: a strike by young women and girls, who took on their employer – and by extension the entire Victorian establishment – in the summer of 1888. Matchstick makers, Bryant and May were powerful and prosperous Victorian gentlemen, with friends in very high places. The matchwomen, by contrast, were labelled a “rough set of girls”. Wages were so low the women were malnourished. They had no contracts or job security and working with toxic white phosphorus caused what the women called “phossy jaw”. This grisly disease decayed the jawbone, slowly and agonisingly, and could prove fatal.

fighting back But the matchwomen refused to be victims. Without a union to support them, they surprised – and outraged – the country when they took matters into their own hands. When one girl was sacked (supposedly for being a troublemaker, but in reality to punish the women for speaking to a journalist about

conditions), 1,400 workmates downed tools and streamed out of the gates of the matchstick factory in Bow. Their two-week strike changed everything. The scandalous truth about Bryant and May was revealed and the women marched to parliament and impressed MPs with their eloquence and intelligence. They went on to win a huge victory for themselves, for women workers, and for working class people everywhere. They formed the biggest union of women and girls in the country, and inspired a wave of strikes that kicked off the trade union movement we know today. In the ’20s that union evolved into GMB, which is therefore essentially still the matchwomen’s union.

the legacy The vital role of working class women has been ignored for too long! This year many GMB members attended the Matchwomen’s Festival on

Louise Raw is the author of Striking a Light: the Bryant & May Matchwomen and Their Place in History and the organiser of the Matchwomen’s Festival. For details of next Matchwomen’s Festival contact: 16

6 July. It was organised by the Bishopsgate Institute and held near Liverpool Street in London. The grandchildren of the original matchwomen were VIP guests at the festival and everyone enjoyed a packed roster of high-profile speakers and excellent entertainment. Members also enjoyed a jig or two as the traditional Irish band brought the atmosphere to life. There was music, stand-up comedy, poetry, special children’s events, stalls and food and drink. Michael Rosen read for children, John Hegley made us laugh with his poetry, and in the evening Attila the Stockbroker, Izzy Thomas, the Ruby Kid helped get the party started. This was a great festival to commemorate an important part of GMB’s history. To help the festival in coming years, please donate, become a sponsor, or volunteer your time via the website below.

Support l the Festiva n’s Festival go to: Matchwome For more details on the fes www.matchwomens or email matchwomen1 atchwomen @matchwomen1888

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


to gmb WOMEN members

regional NATional

Take a


If you’ve not had a holiday in years, the Mary Macarthur Holiday Trust can help


he Mary Macarthur Holiday Trust provides holidays for women who are in need of a break. When life gets tough, it’s here to help you enjoy a rest. The Trust helps women book a holiday because of:

an amendment to the Munitions Act, which required that women should receive the same rate of pay as men for doing the same job.

iStock x 4

What does the Trust do? At the time of Mary’s death, working • Age women had no paid • Poverty holidays and there • Infirmity was no such thing • Disablement as the NHS. In her • Social or economic memory, an appeal circumstances was launched and a Trust formed to ? Whatever the reason, the fund places in ro er lp Po Fancy a brea k in Trust aims to offer some convalescent or respite from life’s traumas. holiday homes for women in need. Who was Mary Macarthur? Its success enabled them to buy a home and Part of GMB history, Mary Macarthur was name it The Mary Macarthur Holiday Home. a trade unionist who fought tirelessly for More homes were opened and for more than working women who had no paid holidays. 60 years, women Born in Ayr in 1880, she died in 1921 and benefited from time although her life was short, it was very full. at Mary Macarthur At 23 she became general secretary of the Holiday Homes. Women’s Trade Union League, and was the As times changed, president of the National Federation of the homes were closed Women Workers from 1906 to 1908. One of and the Trust now her main achievements was that she secured awards grants towards the cost of any holiday – still preserving the Trust’s original ideals. The range, number and complexity of ...or a peacef ul cases which continue to be referred to the Trust for assistance show that its work is just as relevant and vital in today’s world as it ever was.

...or Woolacombe Sands?

Do I qualify for a holiday? Holiday grants are just for women and you must be 18 or over to qualify. Also, you must not have had a holiday in recent years, and must not have received a grant from the Trust

PROUD LEGACY Mary Macarthur fought for equal rights and pay for women. for at least three years. You also need a letter from a sponsoring body or person explaining why you deserve a holiday grant. The Trust will help you pay for a holiday, but it is up to you to choose where you go and to make enquiries with a local travel agent – so you can go anywhere! The Trust encourages women to go away on their own but you can bring someone with you if you prefer. However, the Trust cannot give you more money to pay for a friend. The grant is normally paid directly to the holiday provider. If you think you would benefit from a Mary Macarthur Holiday, or you know a woman who would, please contact Cheryl Andrews, Mary Macarthur Holiday Trust, 1 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9SD. Telephone 02920 359 091, Fax 02920 666 447 or email: How you can help the Trust... The Trust never wants to turn someone down due to a lack of funding. It is likely that disadvantaged women among GMB’s membership have received help from the Trust and benefited from a holiday that might otherwise have seemed out of reach. If you would like to help the Trust continue providing this valuable service, please make a donation via the can al trip? website listed below.

Do you need a holiday? For more details on the Trust or to fill in an application form, go to 17



from GMB All the news

How to make GMB work 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, feel free to call them. One day at work…

Well, I’m having a few problems with management. They’re giving me impossible workloads.

Hi sara, it’s Joe.

Do you want GMB to approach them?

Hi Joe, what can I do for you?

Not at the moment, but I’ll tell them I want GMB involved if they won’t deal with the matter.

Later that week...

any time Joe.


Thanks a lot for your support, sara.

Hi sara, I got my problem sorted out with the management.

The End


Joby Seesions

The threat of involving GMB did the trick.

SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT




Keep your glass filled at your local – ask your MP to help landlords fight sky-high rents


imes are hard for pub landlords, and the many GMB members who work in the UK pub trade. This is thanks largely to a scourge that’s pubs to close. many forcing Property companies known as ‘pubcos’ own more than half of Britain’s pubs, charging sky-high rents to their tied tenants. The money is used to pay interest on financially engineered debts – debts that are held mainly by bondholders in offshore tax havens. Interest payments have to be paid each week before the tenant pours a pint, regardless of whether they can make ends meet. To pay these inflated rents, a pint of lager is, on average, 80p per pint higher and ale is 65p per pint higher than justified by inflation and like-for-like changes in taxes since 1987. This is pricing pubs out of the market, resulting in them closing in droves.

Infernal machine The common view that shareholders in the pubcos own a pub business is wrong. In fact, the shareholders don’t own a pub business; they own a holding company which invests in and manages rental incomes from pubs. These are called pub securitisations. These securitisations are the infernal machine that is closing pubs unable to pay their rents. It’s also

the same infernal machine that drove the Southern Cross care homes to the wall. In 2009 an Office for Fair Trading report concluded that the average pub tied-lessee is being overcharged by pubcos by around £12,000 a year, or £230 per pub per week, after higher “wet rents” and lower “dry rents” are factored into the equation. GMB has campaigned for parliament to legislate to free pubs from this infernal machine before it destroys them all. In April 2013 the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills published a draft statutory code for tied pubs for consultation which closed in June. GMB welcomed their conclusion that pubcos will overcharge tied tenants for rents unless they are prevented

tenants the ability to buy beer, lager and other products from the open market, as well as pay a fair market rent for the building. You can help to make this happen: ask your local pub’s tenants to lobby their MPs to go for Option 3. GMB thinks that the other two options will allow pubcos to put up rents by the backdoor by over-charging for products tenants are tied to buy from them. Please ask your MP to support Option 3 when the matter comes before parliament later this year. You can also support the Fair Deal For Your Local campaign, which calls Option 3 a ‘Market Rent Only’ option. GMB members whose livelihoods are tied up in our pubs need you to make their voice heard.

“Pubcos are pricing pubs out of the market”

from doing so.

YOU CAN HELP We will likely only get this one chance to save our local pubs. Later this year a draft statutory code covering tied pub rents will come before parliament. GMB wants MPs to support ‘Option 3’, which will give tied pub

re n mo Lear information about For more ct GMB how you can help, conta on mp Ke ve Ste r political office 07730 898 102 or email k g.u steve.kemp@gmb.or 19



The cost

from GMB All the news

of dying GMB survey reveals that the cost of dying is more than £7,000








£2,265 £2,350

Cityof London



Top six councils for cremation charges in the uk Cremation, interment of ashes and Exclusive Burial Rights


charges £5,329, the City of London £5,185, and at the bottom of the top 20 chargers, Exeter cashes in £2,650 for every burial. These figures were revealed at GMB Congress and come from a GMB study for all councils in the UK. These charges are major items in The Sun Life Direct Cost Of Dying Survey. The 2012 edition states that the average funeral costs are £3,284. If all the services are included, for example funeral director’s costs, doctors’ fees for certification, flowers, limousines and catering for the wake/reception then the total average is £7,114. Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: “At a time when the cost of living occupies most people’s concerns it will be a real shock to many living in that the cost of dying is so high. While GMB realises that the public are not queuing up to test the services

it remains a fact that few have any idea of how much even a simple burial or cremation actually costs. “When council charges are included the average funeral costs are £3,284 and the total costs average over £7,000 according to some surveys. “Someone is making a lot of money out of peoples bereavement.”

Find out more

in To find the cost of dying the t ou eck ch , ion reg your information online at: newsroom iStock


t will be a real shock to many living in the UK that bereaved families are forced to pay thousands of pounds for cremation and burial services. GMB has discovered that the average cost of dying in the UK is more than £7,000. A GMB survey into the cost of cremation and funeral services found that someone is making a lot of money from people’s bereavement. To ensure that like was compared with like, GMB looked at charges for cremations, interment of ashes and exclusive burial rights. The City of London has the highest charge of £3,464, but this is not a one off as other councils also charge thousands of pounds for the service. Wandsworth charges £2,350, and Manchester charges £2,012.25. And it’s not just cremation that costs bereaved families; the cost of burial also runs into thousands of pounds. Lambeth Council



from GMB All the news

Selling our

services One way or another the Tories want to sell off public services, but this is a recipe for disaster, warns Paul Routledge


he Tories had one so-called big idea at the last general election: the Big Society. Nobody knew what it meant, least of all David Cameron and his merry band of job-robbers. But we know now. It’s about culling jobs in the public sector, and replacing them with charities, staff buy-outs and “social enterprises.” “They’re trying to privatise by the back door,” says GMB’s Kathleen Walker Shaw. “They’re now tackling social services and health care services. They know public opinion won’t take kindly to it, so this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” The potential for out-sourcing of public services across a wide range of activity, from housing to looking after children, is enormous. There is big money at stake. The government spends £23Obn every year on public sector procurement of goods and services, and the privateers want more of it.

councils, the NHS and government departments to commission services from organisations that create “social value” in communities. This is defined as doing something for the community and is supposed to “put people before profit.” But does it? Services being spun out to social enterprises or staff mutuals – workers buying out their business – will inevitably mean more job losses, on top of the hundreds of thousands already lost since Cameron came to power. In the end, this reform is all about cutting the cost of providing public services with the added bonus – in Tory eyes – that it will diminish trade union membership and activity.

Their Social Value Act was the brainchild of a Conservative politician, public relations consultant Chris White, MP for Leamington and Warwick. Speaking in the Westminster debate, he said government should tell procurement commissioners: “You can still save money on that youth service or care home, but by letting a community organisation run it you could involve the people who have actually got a stake in that venture.” Translated into everyday speech, he’s saying “Take your services out of the hands of directly-employed workers and put the business into private-sector hands.”

social value The springboard for this latest radical change is the Social Value Act 2012, which came into operation earlier this year. On the face of it, this legislation looks like a good idea. It calls on public bodies such as

utuals “Charities, staff m rises and social enterp fail” are being set up to CRITICAL SITUATION The Tories are trying to kill off our health service. 22


Bring these pages to life! buy-out. “In some cases, this is the difference between trying to set up a social enterprise – or you are redundant,” a source in the Local Government Association told me. “Faced with that choice, it sharpens thinking.” Ed Mayo, general secretary of Cooperatives UK, fears that staff are being pressed into something they don’t want. “This is not really a new model, but rather good old fashioned privatisation,” he says. Do workers really want this change? Not on the evidence of real votes by real employees. In the vast majority of cases where staff in the NHS have been balloted, it’s been shown that most have chosen to stay with the health service.

CHILDCARE THREAT Would you trust a big business to look after your baby? What’s more, experts warn that charities, staff mutuals and social enterprises are being set up to fail, opening the way for the big boys in the private sector to come in and take these lucrative contracts. There is an added danger that pressure from government to drive down costs will mean employees being given a stark choice between the sack and tendering as a worker

Look at the figures of Primary Care Trust staff voting against transfer: • Cornwall 81% • Plymouth 74% • Shropshire 85% • Greenwich 86% • Mid-Essex 97% • Sandwell 67%

GMB is strongly opposing this dilution, telling MEPs that the development of mutuals in the UK is part of a different political agenda to their operation elsewhere in Europe. “The UK model is a route to privatisation of public services,” union general secretary Paul Kenny argued in a letter to parliamentarians in Strasbourg. He’s right. But this is a complex subject, and I hope I’ve carried you with me through the jungle of government double-speak. It’s clear from the mouth of the man who gave us the Social Value Act. The Big Society revolution, he told Parliament, “won’t happen by itself.” No, it won’t. It will only happen where employers see a financial benefit from spin-out. And the workforce will foot the bill.

Help GMB S e NH Saveyoth ur services and

Spin-out is not safe, either. Public service contract commissioners can withdraw funding from these “mutuals” as quickly as they grant it, leaving the workforce vulnerable to redundancy or takeover by a private contractor.

Stick up for the NHS join GMB’s rally to Save ce ren at the Tory Party Confe ay in Manchester on Sund re mo 29 September. For information on how you can get involved, go to

GMB Member offer

Andrew Wiard

iStock x 3

Wedding photography From getting ready to the ceremony itself and until way past the first dance…


emember your big day forever with beautiful professional wedding photography from GMB’s official photographer, Andrew Wiard. Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, says:

“Andrew has photographed the work and campaigns of GMB members and the Labour Movement for over 30 years. You can have all his experience to capture your most treasured moments. As a trade union member and activist, you can rely on him.”

To find out more or take advantage of his services, phone Andrew Wiard on 07973 219 201 or email andrew@ See his work at: 23



from GMB All the news

GMB’s annual statement and audit Audit Report

The following is reprinted from the Annual Return (AR21): Report of the Auditors to the Members of GMB Statement of Central Executive Council’s (CEC’s) responsibilities The legislation relating to trade unions requires the CEC to submit a return for each calendar year to the Certification Office for Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations. This return contains financial statements which must give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Union at the year end and of its transactions for the year then ended. The financial statements set out on the preceding pages have been prepared on the same basis and are used to complete the return to the Certification Office for Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations. In relation to the Union these requirements are the responsibility of the CEC. It is responsible for preparing the financial statements of the Union and in so doing is required to: • Select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently • Make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent • State whether applicable accounting standards have been followed • Prepare the accounts on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to do so. The CEC is responsible for keeping proper accounting records and establishing and maintaining a satisfactory system of control over its records and transactions in order to comply with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. It is responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Union and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities. The CEC is also responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the corporate and financial information included on the Union’s website. Legislation in the United Kingdom governing the preparation and dissemination of accounts may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions. Report of the General Members Auditors We have examined the financial statements in accordance with Rule. I. Burkett General Member Auditors S. Dery Independent Auditors’ Report to the Members of GMB We have audited the financial statements of GMB for the year ended 31 December 2012 which comprise the Income and Expenditure Account, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement and the related notes. The financial reporting framework that has been applied in their preparation is applicable law and United Kingdom Accounting Standards (United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice). This report is made solely to the Union’s members, as a body, in accordance with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might state to the Union’s members those matters we are required to state to them in an auditor’s report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the Union and the Union’s members as a body, for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed. Respective Responsibilities of GMB’s Central Executive Council and Auditor As explained more fully in the Statement of Central Executive Council’s (CEC) Responsibilities, the CEC is responsible for the preparation of the financial statements and for being satisfied that they give a true and fair view. Our responsibility is to audit and express an opinion on the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland). Those standards require us to comply with the Auditing Practices Board’s Ethical Standards for Auditors. Scope of the Audit of the Financial Statements An audit involves obtaining evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements sufficient to give reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatement, whether caused by fraud or error. This includes an assessment of: whether the accounting policies are appropriate to the Union’s circumstances and have been consistently applied and adequately disclosed; the reasonableness of significant accounting estimates made by the CEC; and the overall presentation of the financial statements. In addition, we read all the financial and non-financial information in the General Secretary’s Introduction to identify material inconsistencies with the audited financial statements. If we become aware of any apparent material misstatements or inconsistencies we consider the implications for our report. Opinion on Financial Statements In our opinion the financial statements: • give a true and fair view of the state of the Union’s affairs as at 31 December 2012 and of its deficit for the year then ended; • have been properly prepared in accordance with United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice; and • have been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Matters on Which we are Required to Report by Exception We have nothing to report in respect of the following matters where the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 requires us to report to you if, in our opinion: • adequate accounting records have not been kept, or returns adequate for our audit have not been received from branches not visited by us; or • the Union has not maintained a satisfactory system of control over its transactions in accordance with the requirements of Section 28 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992; or • the financial statements are not in agreement with the accounting records and returns; or • certain disclosures within the form AR21 of Officers’ remuneration specified by law are not made; or • we have not received all the information and explanations we require for our audit. Chantrey Vellacott DFK LLP Chartered Accountants and Statutory Auditor London Financial Affairs of the Union A member who is concerned that some irregularity may be occurring, or has occurred, in the conduct of the financial affairs of the Union may take steps with a view to investigating further, obtaining clarification and, if necessary, securing regularisation of that conduct. The member may raise any such concern with such one or more of the following as it seems appropriate to raise it with: the officials of the Union, the trustees of the property of the Union, the auditor or auditors of the Union, the Certification Officer (who is an independent officer appointed by the Secretary of State) and the police. Where a member believes that the financial affairs of the Union have been or are being conducted in breach of the law or in breach of rules of the Union and contemplates bringing civil proceedings against the Union or responsible officials or trustees, he should consider obtaining independent legal advice.


Annual statement to the members of GMB Required under Section 32A Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992

Year ended 31 December 2012


Total Income 64,679 of which, Income in respect of membership 60,468 Total Expenditure 57,529 Movement in actuarial valuation of pension scheme (9,637) Political Fund Income 3,194 Expenditure 2,701

Analysis of Officials’ Salaries and Benefits Office Held Gross Super Salary Annuation

Benefit Car


£’000 £’000

£’000 £’000

12 1

0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 0 0 15 8 18 2 0 0 6 0 9 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 14 0 3 127 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 40 0 2

£’000 £’000

B. Adams S. Bearcroft MBE 4 S. Berwick E. Blackman D. Bruno K. Buchanan R. Clarke D. Clements K. Daniels 14 J. Dolan G. Doolan R. Dunnett 15 G. Emmerson 8 G. Evans 18 B. Farr 2 G. Ferguson J. Foster B. Fraser 6 G. Fraser G. Gibbs 9 M. Gregg J. Hall 1 S. Harding A. Harry MBE D. Hope 1 B. Hulley 1 M. Hutchinson M. Jackson J. Jones 14 W. Juss P. Kane 3 P. Kenny (General Secretary) 94 A. Leader 2 M. Lock E. Marnell E. Martin J. McDonnell A. McGivern A. McLaren J. Minnery B. Modlock 9 C. Murphy D. Noble L. Parker G. Richardson 1 L. Ryan M. Sage 4 L. Sharp N. Sharpe K. Slater V. Smart J. Stribley M. Turner MBE 39 R. Waugh P. Wheatley 2


Benefit Total Employers’ Mortgage NI


1 1 2





UPDATE from GMB All the news




HIGH HOPES The snowy summit of Africa’s tallest mountain beckons!


performance GMB’s Jacqui Feeley prepares for Mount Kilimanjaro charity climb



Jacqui has been sponsored by GMB acqui Feeley, a driver and carer branches 44, 80 and 413 of Liverpool City from GMB branch 44 at Liverpool Council, and is also being supported City Council, is taking up the wholeheartedly by the GMB North West and daunting challenge of climbing Irish region in raising the sponsorship to Mount Kilimanjaro in June 2014. complete this task for Marie Curie. Jacqui will be climbing to 5,895 Jacqui said: “With the support metres above sea level to raise of GMB members, I hope to funds for Marie Curie Cancer raise the desperately needed Care. She will be trekking up funds for Marie Curie to 16 hours per day in Hospice, which receives memory of her close only 45 per cent funding friend Ruth, who died of from the NHS and has to cancer five years ago. The raise the rest from funds she’s hoping to raise donations and fundraising. will go to Marie Curie “The hospice provides Hospice in Liverpool. OUT ING BRANCH truly inspirational care to To go to Africa and take Jacqui Feeley and Jayne patients and their families, part, Jacqui has to raise a Davies, branch 80 rep. and I hope that GMB minimum of £4,000 for Marie members will support the Curie Cancer Care. She has also marvellous help that is given on average to begun a fitness training programme with the 1,150 patients per year so they can receive the help of the Liverpool Ramblers to get as fit as best care available to them and their family.” possible so she can fulfil her dream of Good luck, Jacqui! completing this notoriously difficult climb.

Sponsor jacqui now!

by making You can donate directly Curie rie Ma a payment into the yds TSB Llo at nt ou acc g fundraisin Sort code: 77-17-41 4168 Account number: 2239 ct nta co ly, ve ati ern Alt Arthur Moss at the branch office on 0151 225 6275. 25




from GMB All the news

m a h a r g tt o m r e mcd

GMB’s senior organiser on the government’s w elfare cuts

Hateful lies It is a Tory myth that people on benefits are work-shy scroungers and that benefit fraud is rife. Their aim is to vilify and demonise people on benefits so that they can make cuts and there won’t be an outcry. By neutralising any potential opposition the government makes it easier to bring in the changes, especially when many working people are left with an impression of benefit 26

As well as disabled and unemployed, the changes will affect a large number of working families claimants as swindlers. (There are actually very few families with 12 kids and two council houses!) Sadly, despite almost universal mistrust of the chancellor, a large number of voters believe him on benefits and believe reform is needed. A number of recent polls have suggested that this is the case: even a poll by the TUC found that people believe 27 per cent of the welfare bill is claimed fraudulently, when in reality it is estimated at 0.8 per cent. The same poll found that 75 per cent of people think welfare reform only affects the unemployed. It is obvious that the shift in approach by the government in publicising its benefits cuts as reforms is having some effect on BENEFITS FRAUD public opinion. Clearly as trade unionists, we Iain Duncan Smith would have have an important role to play here, not just you believe benefits fraud is rife. defending vulnerable people in our society

Rex Features/iStock


hen it comes to cuts and austerity measures, the government often talks about the need to make tough decisions. But the decisions they are making on welfare and benefits are no more difficult than those of any schoolyard bully who singles out and targets their helpless and vulnerable prey. Many GMB members have been, or will be, impacted by the cuts. Changes will affect the disabled, the unemployed and a large number of working families who rely on child tax credits and council tax benefits. Twenty million families (64 per cent of all families in the UK) currently receive some sort of benefit with almost 10 million families having more than half their income made up by benefits. In fact more than seven million working households will be affected by the benefit changes, with somewhere between one million and two million families no longer receiving help due to changes in child tax credits.

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“Of 14.1m households with someone in work, 7m will see their entitlements reduced”

and protecting the safety net that we all pay towards and might need some day, but actually defending our members and highlighting the injustices that are having an impact on people in work as well as those who are not. In reality, working and non-working families are going to suffer – as are the children in those families. Paying benefits monthly will have an instant impact, with many families unable to budget weekly, let alone monthly. We need to highlight the injustices, bust the myths and educate our members about the realities of the benefit system and the changes coming in. Only then when we have the support of people can we expect any success with our campaigning against unfair and unjust benefit cuts.

Welfare Q&A How much of the welfare bill goes on benefits to the unemployed? Between 2009–10 and 2011–12 it stood at 13 per cent. The proportion of gross domestic product devoted to benefits is at an all-time high, but this is more a result of following the recession than a long-term upward trend. Will cutting benefits make more people get into work? They may stop claiming benefits – but not necessarily go to work. Sanctions are successful in getting people off benefits, but this may be because they are dropping out of the system altogether, rather than working.

How many families get more in benefits than the proposed government cap of £26,000? Around 58,000 households will have their payments reduced by when the government’s capping policy starts in 2014–15. Is it just the unemployed who are affected by the cuts? No, as the Institute for Fiscal Studies pointed out in January, the proposed uprating changes apply to almost all benefits and tax credits, so both in-work and out-of-work households are affected. Of 2.8 million workless households 2.5 million will see their entitlements reduced by an average of about £215 a year in 2015–16. Of 14.1 million working-age households with someone in work, seven million will see their entitlements reduced. This figure includes three million families who lose out only from the cuts to child benefit. They will be worse off by an average of about £75 a year. How many large families are heavily dependent on benefits? According to figures published in The Economist, in 2011 there were just 130 families in the country with 10 children claiming at least one out-of-work benefit. What’s more, only 8 per cent of benefit claimants have three or more children and – on average – unemployed people have a similar number of children to employed people.

Are UK benefits more generous than other countries in the EU? Figures from Eurostat suggest the UK spends about the same as the EU average on unemployment and disability-related benefits, although it is behind the larger economies. The UK spends 12 per cent less per head than France and 19 per cent less than Germany. How many people have come off disability benefits since the reforms? Since 2008, 878,000 new employment and support allowance claims have been closed before the claimant was able to be assessed and 729,000 have been found “fit for work” by tests. Since May 2010, 527,000 employment and support allowance claims have been closed and 414,000 found “fit for work”. This programme is highly controversial and many critics suggest that all that has happened is that the bar has been raised so high that many people can’t get near it and are kicked off benefit. As well as that, the government-appointed contractor ATOS has been highly criticised for its tactics and errors. Forty per cent of claimants have successfully overturned decisions on appeal. Do any families get more than £100,000 a year in benefits, as George Osborne has claimed? A freedom of information request by Full Fact showed that in August 2010, there were fewer than five housing benefit claimants receiving the equivalent of £100,000 a year. 27



from GMB All the news

ALL EQUAL Delegates at The National Equalities Conference .


involved Two good causes that need your support! North West Pride Events


The latest news from the Regional Equality Forum and more…


he newly elected Regional Equality Forum (REF) is in place. Members will serve for two years. The successful nominees were:

REF Strand Members: David Hope – LGBT; Lorraine Winson – Disabilities; Joan Kelly – Gender; Jenny McLaren – BME. REF Ordinary Members: Shirley Buckley, Billy Goulding, Derek Sutcliffe, Martin Ellams, Jo Pitchford, Pat Devine, David Ault, Pat Delahunty, Maureen Delahunty. Retired Member’s Seat: Angela Murphy.

NW NEF Member: David Hope. No nominations were received at the 2012 Regional Equality Conference for either the young member seat (must be age 28 or under) or the migrant worker seat, so these will remain vacant until a suitable candidate can be found – if any member is interested in joining the REF for either of these seats, contact Marie Saunderson for further details on 0151 728 2914 or email

The REF will be looking to support a further campaign this year. Any suggestions would be welcomed by members!

conference round-up North West Equality Conference 2012 Speakers included Gareth Gould, a former National Committee Executive Member of LGBT Labour and Labour Party Candidate, who gave a presentation on LGBT in politics. Also Chloe Pugh, from Simpson’s Solicitors, gave an update on the Equality Act. Northern Ireland Regional Equality Conference 2012 Due to poor attendence, this year’s conference was cancelled. All current members retained their seats.


National Equality Conference 2013 The conference, in Leeds, was a resounding success. Speakers included Yvette Cooper and Howard Gayle, and our delegation were a credit to the region, fully participating in the various debates throughout the event. Many thanks to all our delegation but special thanks to our speakers, Martin Ellams, Lorraine Winson, Joan Kelly and Shirley Buckley, who delivered our regional motions with passion and conviction, which resulted in both motions being successfully carried by conference.

Breast Cancer Care: Strawberry Tea The region, along with the REF, has supported the Breast Cancer Care campaign for many years now – raising in total £5,156! Many thanks to these branches: 1, C51, 139, 14, 94, X83, D41, F50, X24, 141, 376, 115, 79, 173, B16, W79, 41, D13, 85, 274, 2, G55, D58, 130 and 97, who supported our 2012 fundraising and helped raise £2,000. Special thanks to REF member Shirley Buckley who raised £301 at a tea party she held in her workplace. Fundraising has begun for the 2013 Strawberry Tea Campaign, and thanks go to the following branches for their generous donations: 139, 14, 94, 80, 44, 413, D13, P42, 79, F50, H05, S02, C51, XO7. If you wish to donate to either of these events, make cheques payable to GMB. On the back of the cheque put ‘North West Pride Event 2013’ or ‘Strawberry Tea’ and send to GMB, Columbus Quay, Riverside Drive, Liverpool, L3 4GB, for the attention of Marie Saunderson.

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qual E o

Many thanks to the following branches who have made donations to the 2013 NW Pride Events: P42, X24, 14, 94 and D41. This year’s Manchester event takes place from 23–26 August; the date for the event in Liverpool is 3 August. It is still not too late for your branch to make a donation, and please remember it is important that the region maintains a presence. You can help by donating directly to the events or volunteering to help staff the stall or take part in the parade. Branches have donated generously in previous years, and the Regional Equality Forum hopes 2013 will be no exception! For further information contact David Hope on 01942 511 588 or 07979 841 091.

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GMB boosts recruitment at British Gas in Stockport andManchester

regional Move to Direct Debit www.gmb

on gas


MB’s Dave Wrigley and Andy Duckett, who work at the British Gas offices in Stockport, headed up a successful GMB recruitment day in their workplace. Both agree that raising the profile of GMB has resulted in recruitment, and with future similar days planned they hope to increase the membership further. Boosting the number of GMB members at work is essential to make GMB stronger in the workplace. GMB and British Gas managers have a good relationship, so Dave and Andy were able to boost membership at work. The day was a great success and created a solid basis to build on for future recruitment on the site.

HIGH ENERGY GMB’s Gavin Mazza and Sonia Jennings along with GMB . national organiser Charlotte Gardener

know your pension rights

RECRUITING TEAM Drumming up support at British Gas!

Don’t get caught out by the “common law marriage” myth Recently a distressing case about a local government pension scheme was brought to GMB’s attention. A woman who had been living with her partner for many years thought that they had signed the paperwork to ensure she got his pension in the event of his death – but the paperwork had not all been completed. It brought to light a problem we’d like to highlight about survivor benefits. If a couple are married, or a same-sex couple have gone through a formal civil partnership ceremony, then there are no significant issues. If a couple are not married, however, then this is when problems kick in. In English law there is no such thing as common law

marriage. It does not matter how long they have been together; if they are not married, then the survivor will get no pension at all. Please act now if you are co-habiting partners who are not married. Go to our website or phone the pension administrator at your place of work. Get the forms and send them in; keep a copy for your records. You may have to do two election forms: one for the pension and one for the death in service payment payable if the person dies before retirement. Make sure your payments are not lost when you die!

“In English law there is no such such thing as common law marriage” 29



from GMB All the news

on course Workplace organisers learn the ropes


WORKING WONDER Geoff Hurst is ready to represent his colleagues.

hese GMB reps have been working hard on a workplace organiser course at our Preston office, learning valuable skills such as the ins and outs of workplace organisation contracts and many other topics. They also received a visit from GMB regional secretary Paul McCarthy, who met with the workplace organisers and thanked them for their sterling work on behalf of GMB. There followed a wide-ranging discussion on national and political maters. The GMB workplace organisers on the course are extremely capable of delivering a first-class service to members. To learn more about becoming a GMB workplace organiser, go to

ALL SMILES Carmel Dunphy enjoyed training with GMB.

Banner-time! GMB unveils new banner

proudly unveiled our GMB North West and Irish region Holywood office on the in er bann nd Irela new Northern unveiled by Dougie Friday 3 May 2013. The banner was ber John McDonnell mem Henry, regional president, CEC etary Paul Magee secr ch bran ncil and 252 Belfast City Cou ented with a GMB 40 (who himself had recently been pres year service medal). Day committee The banner was the result of a May our profile in the raise to nd Irela being set up in Northern goes out to the you k than big A de. para Belfast May Day work in their for e members of the May Day committe branches the and day l organising what was a successfu . ions ribut that made financial cont


The big reveal Dougie Henry, John McDonnell and Paul Magee unveil the new banner.

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Can they kick it? Yes they can! Local GMB branch sponsored Ballynahinch under 11's celebrated a cracking season, having won the Rosario football tournament.


Here they are showing off the trophy they won on Saturday 11 May – well done lads and keep up the good work for next season!

Lions on the prowl Liverpool Lions Rugby League Club is looking for players Following its most successful season ever, Liverpool Lions Rugby League Club has started the 2013 summer season and is looking to recruit more players. With established teams for all high school years, the Lions will be playing from March to September on Sundays across the North West. The Lions are also starting teams at primary school ages and hope to play against other teams in the region. The club has two training nights: Tuesday for years 9, 10 and 11, and Wednesday for all other age groups. It is always on the look out for volunteers, coaches and committee

BECOME A GM HealthB safety & rep www

members. For details of how you can get .gmb.or involved contact club manager Nick on nick@ alternatively text or call 07930 348566.



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

Columbus Quay, Riverside Drive, Liverpool L3 4GB T: 0151 727 0077 F: 0151 728 2929 Regional Secretary: Paul McCarthy, E:

GMB Holywood Office

Victoria House, 1a Victoria Road, Holywood BT18 9BA T: 02890 393 340 F: 02890 393 349

GMB Blackburn Office

9 Wellington Street, St John’s, Blackburn BB1 8AF T: 01254 683 454 F: 01254 433 362

GMB Bolton Office

Jack Brown House, 80 St Georges Rd, Bolton BL1 2DD T: 01204 523 011 F: 01204 529 040

GMB Manchester City Council Office

GMB Trade Union, c/o Abraham Moss Centre, Crescent Rd, Crumpsall M8 5UF T: 0161 908 8316 F: 0161 908 1907

GMB Oldham Office

108 Union Street, Oldham OL1 1DU T: 0161 627 3062 F: 0161 222 1039

GMB Preston Office

Colin Muldoon

The Textile House, 6 Sedgwick Street, Preston PR1 1TP T: 01772 555 879 F: 01772 253 415

It is with great sadness that we report Colin Muldoon, GMB representative and branch secretary at the Booker distribution centre, Haydock, passed away on 23 January 2013. He represented his GMB colleagues for 10 years at Booker. His contribution, both as GMB workplace organiser and friend was significant, bringing in changes that benefited his colleagues and the business. A driving force concerning Health and Safety, Colin introduced a substance misuse policy and supported understanding through the introduction of learning at work initiatives and ESOL courses. Colin is sadly missed by all his friends and colleagues from the distribution centre and GMB.

Tudor Hall, York Pl, York Street, Runcorn WA7 5BB T: 01928 572726 F: 01928 59 0317

GMB Runcorn Office

GMB St Helens Office

72 Claughton Street, St Helens WA10 1SN T: 01744 25474/738330 F: 01744 451118

GMB Warrington Office

Assembly Rooms, Town Hill, Warrington WA1 2NG T: 01925 630 095 F: 01925 634 797 GMB regional website 31

Get up to


** OExfclusive fe ends r 31 July!

l il b s a g h is it r b r OFF you

B Steward Monica Griffiths, GM etering section at British Gas’s Smart M : “We all need endorses the deal, saying ese difficult help with fuel costs in th e of this offer times so take advantag d. If you’re not that GMB has negotiate GMB you don’t get it.”

British Gas enginee rs Andy Glenn, GMB senior steward, North of England; John Daly, GM B senior steward, North West; and Phil Be eston, GMB senior steward, Wales & West sa y: “Sign up for your exclusive GMB deal with British Gas and we will deliver it.”

credit. GMB members who are already British Gas customers can claim £35* y tariff Choose either British Gas’ Clear & Simple or Price Promise July 2014 energ **! before 31 July and you’ll receive a further £65* credit: a saving of £100

Don’t miss out! Sign up now. Go to: GMB credit offer *Not available in conjunction with the BG employee discount scheme or for existing customers on an Online variable tariff **Only available with Clear & Simple or Price Promise July 2014 tariffs Energy offers end on 31 July. The amounts include VAT at 5%. Only one offer per household customer. Subject to status. Excludes Pay As You Go Energy™ customers. Limited availability. £100 offer: For eligible, new customers taking gas through a credit meter. You must take both your gas and electricity with British Gas and remain a customer for both fuels on our Clear & Simple or Price Promise July 2014 tariff at point of credit. The £100 offer will be shown as two £50 credits on your gas bill, the first within 3 months of your Supply Start Date and the second on your first bill issued after 12 months. The £100 credit offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. £35 offer: You must remain a British Gas customer for gas or electricity at point of credit. The £35 credit will show on your gas or electricity bill issued 3 months after you sign up to the offer. The £35 credit offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.

Your GMB

Fusion summer 2013  

GMB magazine for North West & Irish region