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The magazine for GMB members

Nexus | Summer 2013

hs sos n GM B fights cuts in North Wales!

Making Waves

Plymouth welcomes GMB Congress 2013! WIN a Toyota Aygo See p15 worth ÂŁ9,000

Don’t miss your chance to be part of GMB decision making!


ongress 2013 has just finished, but you can still make a difference to GMB policy by coming to Congress next year! GMB Congress decides what polices the union will follow – but this is built on the hard work of GMB branches over the rest of the year. So if you’re meetings not already involved in your branch, now’s the time to start. Branch e. differenc a make to chance your are take place regularly and


FOLK HERO GMB Congress 2014 will take place in Nottingham, home of Robin Hoo d.

GMB Congress 2014 takes place in Nottingham from 8 to 12 June. To attend GMB Congress: • You must be nominated by your branch a paid-up • You must have been week s GMB member for 53 ns must reach the regional • Your branch’s motio2014 office by 31 January


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

Watch THE video 02

Catch up with the highlights from GMB Congress 2013. For videos of everything from GMB banners to key political addresses, go to:

In this issue…

John Phillips etary GMB regional secr

Demonstration to save our hospitals Page 27

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



4 March on Westminster

9 Congress

5 Wage win

11 Paul Kenny says

6 Supermarket sweep

12 Political candidates

8 Congress

14 GMB in your pocket

25 Pain gain

15 Win a car!

26 Political rally cry

16 Striking a light

28 Noises off

17 Take a break

29 A bitter pill

19 Free our pubs

30 Beat the blacklist

22 Selling services

31 Contact GMB

24 Members’ statement

Speaking up against defence cuts

Victory in living wage fight

GMB strengthens its relationship with Asda

Your region’s report from Plymouth

New rules for personal injury claims

Mike Payne on GMB links with Labour

Member’s hearing loss compensation

Headache tablets can be bad for you

Could you have been denied work?

Names and numbers you can call

GMB regional editor Carole Whyman: 02920 491 260 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

All the news from GMB Congress in Plymouth

A word from your general secretary

Meet GMB’s Labour candidates

GMB’s mobile app can keep you in the loop

Your chance to win a Toyota Aygo

Commemorating the matchwomen’s strike

Help for women who need a holiday

How sky-high rents are shutting our pubs

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 Nexus 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.

Pay freezes are too common As we look back on a successful Congress 2013, it is timely to reflect upon the events of the past 12 months. French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr once said, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. The words of that old proverb are certainly true of the policies of the Tory-led coalition government as it enters its third year of office. Following on from the decision to introduce fees for employment tribunals and the extension of the period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim to two years, we now see a further and concerted attempt to punish the victims of poor treatment at work by way of easier dismissals, lower compensation and weaker employee rights on transfer to a new employer. Add to that the ending of strict liability in workplace injury cases and the changes to civil litigation funding in England and Wales, and you get a very clear impression of the challenges that ordinary working class people will face in the immediate future. The relentless pursuit of flawed austerity policies continues to impact severely upon employment levels, particularly in the public sector where pay freezes and cuts to terms and conditions have become all too common. The challenge for GMB is a very simple one. We must concentrate our efforts upon organising in both traditional and now industrial areas, persuading people who have never joined a union that they need our support more than they ever did before. Significant opportunities have been identified in companies such as Asda, Four Seasons, Securitas and schools where, with improved access arrangements, we cannot afford to fail to recruit significant numbers of workers into our great union. The Plymouth Congress, as always, provided the platform for the formulation of our industrial and political strategy for the coming year and beyond. Together, in unity and greater numbers, we can ensure that working people are protected from the worst excuses of this government’s right-wing policies. 03

l a n o i g e r


Move tto Direc Debit k .org.u www.gmb

GMB m o r f s w e n All the


! n o i t ac gmb members pledge to fight privatisation and site closures

G MadelEine Moon One of the MPs who supports DSG.

Alison Seabeck Attended GMB’s Westminster meeting. 04

MB members from the Defence Support Group (DSG) went to Westminster to speak up against the government’s defence cuts. DSG is res the troops the government agency that ensu army’s the on nd depe can tline on the fron ons, vehicles, weapons and communicati off. it sell to yet the Coalition intends h GMB representatives Alan Oldchurc and Ian Holmes, and members from DSG are campaigning to stop the sell-off, which would be disastrous for employees and their families. They have collected thousands of signatures opposing the sale and received support from MPs Jim Murphy, Bruce Crawford, Richard Drax, Mark Tami, Anne McGuire, Madeleine Moon and Alison Seabeck. As a further blow, in March the government said it wanted to close the DSG site at Ashchurch in nal Gloucestershire. This site is the natio

carried out at hub for military vehicles. The work where. It else d cate repli be Ashchurch cannot a quick ing mak on d base is sion deci seems the plan to who buck by selling it off to developers, have reps GMB site. cram 2,100 houses on the deal. the stop to cil coun met with the borough

shaky ground mation After submitting a freedom of infor e ctur stru Infra nce Defe the to est requ able also were es Organisation, representativ land ntial pote of re awa to make councillors bers contamination issues at the site. Mem cils coun h paris d acte cont also have forming an surrounding the site with a view to action committee. place On 23 April, GMB officers and work at ting mee a to ed invit were rs nise orga n and Moo e elein Westminster with MPs Mad y of etar secr the for s stion Alison Seabeck. Que ed on brief were MPs the and ted draf state were hurch. The the work that goes on at DSG Ashc down. back not fight continues and GMB will

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charity Cheque Single status

achieved Landmark agreement signed in Powys

NHS SUPPORT Sheila Bearcroft presents a cheque to Swansea nurses.

Regional president presents cheque for £2,000 Sheila Bearcroft, GMB regional president, recently presented a cheque for £2,000 to Sister Sian and staff nurse Caroline, at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, following the sad and untimely death of her husband, Clive. The devoted care and dedication shown to Clive by staff at the

Intensive Treatment Unit will not be forgotten by his family. Sheila’s friends and colleagues at GMB were happy to contribute to this worthy cause. Sheila and GMB are determined to oppose the government’s attacks on the terms and conditions of NHS staff.

Living wage

Following long years of effort and a number of false starts, Single Status has now been implemented by Powys County Council. This is a hugely important move, as the Single Status Agreement is a vital part of promoting fair treatment for union workers everywhere. The agreement is between employers and trade unions to ensure that there is equal and fair pay for all workers – regardless of gender. It is a step forward for both sides, and a sign that things can only get better! GMB members voted for the proposals by nearly four to one in a recent ballot. The collective agreement has been signed by GMB and other trade unions at the council. GMB is also near to concluding negotiations on equal pay settlements in the county. Claimants should receive news very soon.


GMB helps secure better pay for housing association staff Negotiations led by Gareth Morgans, GMB organiser, have resulted in a victory for employees of two housing associations, Rhondda Cynon Taf Homes (RCTH) and Merthyr Valley Homes (MVH). When these associations were transferred from local authority control, they updated this year’s pay award to include the introduction of the living wage – which is £7.45 per hour. The wage is calculated on the

basic cost of living in the UK, and is awarded voluntarily by employers. We congratulate both of these employers on their gesture, and can only hope that the local authorities in the area will follow the lead of the housing associations and do the right thing by introducing the living wage in Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC and Merthyr Tydfil CBC. So far, GMB has drawn a blank with these particular authorities; they have been citing austerity measures and budget cuts as a reason – something we dispute greatly. We will keep fighting for a fairer wage for all.

05 5



from GMB All the news

Gmb @ w o r k In GMB has a strong network of members and officers in Asda stores and depots across the region


MB has members in all 53 stores and both distribution depots in the region and an active workplace organisers’ forum which meets regularly to discuss developments affecting members who work at Asda. GMB has a strong working relationship with Asda distribution underpinned by a recognition

agreement that was signed at last year’s GMB Congress. Thanks to this relatioship, Asda Wal Mart has become a key workplace for GMB recruitment and growth. What’s more, GMBs collective bargaining power means that GMB members in Asda distribution enjoy protected terms and conditions and strong union representation.

Meet your GMB Asda officers

HannaH Gibbin s and Mark Jone s North Wales store s.


Jill Richards s. South Wales store

ruth bennett Lead officer.

Adie Baker Gloucester, Bristol an Somerset stores an d d distribution depots. both

Katherine Darcy Devon and Cornwall stores.

Find us online


Want to be a GMB rep? • GMB workplace organiser • GMB health & safety rep • GMB learning rep • GMB Equality Forum (under • GMB Young Members’ Forum 27 years of age) e and • GMB campaigning on workplac political issues gmb in store Get involved in helping to get more GMB members in your Asda store – be a GMB health & safety rep! Help be a voice for your workmates. In 2012, more than 35 Asda colleagues became GMB health & safety reps. Being a GMB health & safety rep is a great way to help make your workplace and your fellow GMB members safe. You don’t need to

be an expert; GMB will train you. GMB health & safety reps are just like you. They work with you on the shop floor and in the warehouse. All you need is a level head and an interest in helping GMB members. GMB health & safety reps have a powerful set of rights, giving you legal protection in your new role.

Make a difference! Join the growing band of GMB health & safety reps at Asda. It’s a role where you can make a huge difference. Email or call GMB on 020 7391 6700 and ask for Bob Crosby or Mick Rix.

Group meeting


The Wales & South West Regional Asda Workplace Organisers’ Group met at their quarterly meeting on 13 June at the

distribution depot in Chepstow. This was an inspiring event with an address by national officer, Mick Rix, and a tour of the site.

GMB SUPPORT The region’s Asda Workplace Organisers’ Group.

GMB health & safety reps have the right to: • I nvestigate complaints by GMB members • Investigate the causes of accidents • Inspect the workplace for avoidable hazards • Inspect documents relevant to health and safety in the workplace • Represent GMB BECOME members’ interests A GM in meetings with HealthB enforcement safety & rep www.g inspectors .uk • Make representations to the employer • Receive information from the employer and enforcement inspectors • Make representations to the employer • Receive information from the employer and enforcement inspectors • Be consulted by the employer about issues relating to health & safety in the workplace • Attend meetings of health & safety committees • Investigate potential hazards and dangerous occurrences Research shows that trade union health and safety reps save lives and stop injuries before they become dangerous. Workplaces with GMB health & safety reps have 50 per cent fewer major injuries than those without a GMB rep. 07



from GMB All the news

e p a h s p i h S

in Plymouth All the news from your region at GMB Congress


ongress 2013 saw the appearance of the Wales & South West Region for . the very first time in sunny Plymouth that note to sing plea was it n, agai e Onc one third of the delegate number comprised activists attending Congress for the very first time. Within that group, several made distinguished maiden speeches from the rostrum on some of the key issues affecting GMB and its members. All of the key challenges and threats to our members’ job debated, security and terms and conditions were ethical ng, with particular emphasis on blacklisti ion of eros lity, equa m, procurement, welfare refor the of on mati deci the and s employment right . base g turin ufac man country’s Extensive debates on the future of ent of branch structures and the involvem trating illus e, plac took GMB in women with the that ring ensu to ent mitm com ’s GMB are n unio the structures and processes of ible. as democratic as poss

CONGRESS HIGHLIGHTS Speakers and delegates from the region.


iring event Finally, Congress 2013 was an insp John for all those delegates who attended. secretary, Phillips, Wales & South West regional my thanks said: “I would like to formally record and appreciation to all of those delegates who were in attendance for the commendable way in which they represented themselves, their branches and their members.” He concluded: “As always, everyone was a credit to the region itself and I look forward ible in to seeing as many delegates as poss Nottingham in 2014.”

“As always, everyone was a credit to the region itself”

What is Congress? GMB Congress is the biggest annual meeting of GMB members. Hundreds of members and guests from across the UK meet to discuss GMB policies for the next year, voting on motions, questioning politicians and shaping the future of GMB.

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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Get more from GMB with the new-look website and brand new mobile app


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.

Visit www. • Update your GMB profile • Switch to Direct Debit • Access the latest news • Download exclusive extras • Get support for your workplace

gmb in your pocket! Get the latest from GMB wherever you are with the new free GMB app. Download it to your smartphone to get instant access to GMB on the move. It is available from or from iTunes and Google Play for Android.

Download it now to: • Update your GMB profile • Get the latest news from GMB • Switch to Direct Debit • Find your nearest GMB office • Find your nearest GMB post holder • Become a workplace organiser

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ART ATTACK Download posters yo won’t find anywhe u re else.


GMB’s website is also home to lots of exciting extras, exclusive to GMB members. Get the full story of GMB’s history by leafing through a digital version of The History of GMB. This book is filled with pictures and information, and it’s free to read at Members can also download a series of exclusive posters detailing the history and achievements of GMB. These beautifullydesigned posters were displayed at GMB Congress in Plymouth and were so popular that GMB has decided to make them available for all members to download at

YOUR HISTORY Read about how GMB came into existence.

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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.

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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

injured ? orgk at w .uk .gmb.or

? d e r u j In s ’ B M G l cal legal team www

m ai cl ry ju in al on rs pe a t ar st to ay w w ne e Th



ue to new legislation in personal injury law, which came into effect this year, the way in which GMB processes personal injury claims on behalf of members has changed. The new legislation means that GMB can no longer obtain information from members regarding an accident and pass it on to its panel lawyers to start a claim. The first contact has to come from the member. GMB has therefore introduced a new and simple Direct Instruction process to get the ball rolling fast for all new claims. All members have to do to start their claim is contact GMB’s legal department on 02920 491 260, and they will then be given the telephone number of a free 24-hour legal helpline, which they can use to get straight through to the appropriate panel solicitor to discuss their claim. GMB branch secretaries and workplace organisers can still contact the GMB legal department on behalf of their members, and they will be informed of the number to pass onto the member. But remember,

branch secretaries and workplace organisers will not be able to make the call – it has to be the member themselves.

ing? Why is this happen The government has introduced new rules relating to passing on information about claims, and now the first contact has to come from the person making the claim. This is why it is so important that all members are aware of the new Direct Instruction process for the GMB personal injury scheme, and that all members make sure that they use it.

rs Why should membel use GMB’s Persona Injury Lawyers? There have always been lots of reasons to use GMB’s lawyers*, but now it’s more important than ever. In addition to being advised by lawyers who are committed to representing trades union members and possessing an

in-depth knowledge of your workplace, GMB members will continue to keep all their compensation if their claim is successful. Due to other recent changes in the law, personal injury lawyers will now be able to deduct as much as 25 per cent from compensation. But for GMB members there will be no deductions, and members will continue to keep 100 per cent of their compensation*. Another great benefit of being a GMB member!

Injured at work? Here’s how to claim!

1 2 3

 You make first contact with GMB’s legal department on 02920 491 260. A specialist lawyer will handle your claim. You keep 100 per cent of your compensation*.

*Subject to rule 25



from GMB All the news

r u o lab

Upda your GtMe Prof B www.gmb ile .or

! s k Lin

er on c i ff o l a c i al polit upport Labour n o i g e r , ne ld s Mike PayB members shou how GM


Not everything that the have been asked last Labour government recently “Why is GMB did was good, but compare still supporting the it with the last three years Labour Party?” and of a Tory/Lib Dem “Why bother voting as all government. Labour parties are the same?” implemented the National My response to the first Minimum Wage, statutory question is simple. The holidays, the working time combined history and our claire moody GMB backs Claire in directive that placed a cap of shared values and principles of the South West. 48 hours worked each week, plus fairness, equity and justice are statutory breaks and statutory maternity unbreakable, but like all relationships, and paternity regulations. both partners need to work at it. On the other hand, the Coalition has As trade unionists we have a responsibility attacked the benefits of the old and disabled. to ensure we are fully engaged and, Remploy workers have been thrown onto the as members of the Labour scrap heap, with two thirds still unemployed Party, we must use our after their factories closed. Employment collective resources to rights are being attacked at a time when the ensure that the policies concept of a free NHS is being threatened by adopted by Labour a vindictive ideology that promotes increasing meet the aspirations of service outsourcing. So when I’m told “they GMB members and the are all the same”, I reply by giving examples wider community. which show that they most definitely are not. In response to the second question, Nye Bevan once said: have your say: “A Labour government, vote labour even one facing Right now selections are taking place across diametrically in the Wales and the South West to select Labour wrong direction, candidates to stand for election in 2015. is far better than I would like to thank all GMB candidates for the alternatives.”

NYE BEVAN Deputy leader of the Labour Party, 1959-60. 26

because it should”

Rex Features

“Nothing changes just

SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT

ON THE SCRAPHEAP Remploy workers sacked by the coalition.

join the

putting themselves forward and wish them well during the selection process. Likewise, selections are also taking place for the European Elections next year, with six candidates standing in the South West and four in Wales. For those GMB members who leafleting and telephone are also Labour Party canvassing, because members, I can without you the whole advise that we are process would not recommending support be successful. for Ann Reeder and Claire If you would like to join Moody in the South West, Team GMB and help at and Christina Rees in Wales Rees nA Christi a local level, get in touch and (all GMB members). Watch GMB supports Christina I will ensure you are given the this space... For more on GMB’s in Wales. opportunity to do so. Developing and political candidates see page 12. expanding the region’s political activist Finally, County Council Elections took network is very important. place on 2 May in England together with Remember, rights are not handed over, a Unitary Authority Election in Anglesey/ they are hard fought for and nothing changes Ynys Mon in Wales. I would like to thank GMB just because it should. members who got involved in door-knocking,

save our


party for just £22.50 a year Join the Labour Party, because if we want a party that we can really support, then we need to do something about it ourselves. As a GMB member you can be part of the Labour Party for just £22.50 a year – sign up now and start making a difference! Go to

Get in touch for more information

Call Mike Payne, region al political officer on 01792 467 803 or email: uk


GMB members march in Llandudno to stop hospital closures GMB activists in North Wales have taken to the streets in protest at a planned NHS reshuffle. The march, which took place on 23 February in Llandudno was a stand against the Con-Dem Coalition’s cuts to the NHS, which includes closures of local and well-used units, where many GMB members work. Hundreds of protestors came to Llandudno to make their voices heard but the area community health council still insists that the changes are part of a commitment to providing safe and sustainable care. In reality the cuts mean local hospitals losing key services, and staff and patients being forced to travel further for work and treatments. One of the key services scheduled to disappear from North Wales is intensive baby care, which will move from Glan Clwyd hospital at Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire to Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral, Merseyside. Some members have been redeployed to units more than 20 miles away in the reshuffle. GMB considers this an attack on workers’ rights and will continue to resist the changes.

Standing proud GMB members stand firm against closures. 27




from GMB All the news


GMB helps member win settlement after years of exposure to noise at work



MB member Alan Griffiths and Engineers Limited, owned by C. H. Bailey, developed hearing loss and where he worked from 1969 on ship repair tinnitus from the excessive noise and in their workshop in Newport. He he was exposed to during his remained with them and related companies in working life. He worked for many the ownership of C. H. PROTECT YOUR EARS employers on fabrication Bailey – Cardiff Dry Vital equipment for and welding work and, as Dock and Barry Cardiff loud workplaces. was often the case in Swansea Ship Repairers his trade, found – until 1983. himself regularly exposed to noise. No protection Despite working in noisy environments As far as he knew he was working Alan was never given for the same employer throughout, protective gear. In the 1960s he there were no sign of change of employment. worked alongside Euclid earth movers, He worked mainly inside the hulls of ships, bulldozers, Emcos and other plant equipment. sometimes in horrific noise levels caused by He also worked in tunnels where he had to compressed air tools used for riveting and endure noise from blasting and drilling work. caulking work in ships’ hulls. However, his worst exposure to excessive Despite the noise levels, at no stage was noise was with Bristol Channel Ship Repairers Alan provided with hearing protection. 28

When Alan developed hearing loss and tinnitus he came to GMB for help but the various employers and insurers refused to settle his case. GMB’s legal team fought for Alan and reached a settlement before the case made to the courtroom. Alan is still waiting for some of his compensation because some of the insurers involved in his case are now insolvent and his case is being dealt with by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

injured k? at wor ured If you’ve been inj at work contact GMB now! Go to

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feel the

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Would you Court pass the test? out!

You might be surprised how easy it is to fail a drugs test at work

Natalie Hamlyn, caseworker at Leo Abse & Cohen Solicitors explains contractors’ obligations Employers have health and safety

obligations to employees, but these apply to visiting contractors as well.


s recreational drug use becomes increasingly commonplace, companies are taking it upon themselves to randomly test their employees for drug use. While GMB supports the principle, there are examples of innocent members being labelled as drug takers due to their use of over the counter medicines. In one company a road worker, randomly tested, filled in the requisite form to advise on medication taken, indicating both Anasol and Paracetamol. Following the drug test, he was astonished to find himself disciplined for gross misconduct due to the fact that opiates were found in his blood. He produced the box of Paracetamol to discover they were actually a tablet called Paramol. Paramol is, in fact, Codeine, which is an opiate. The member was advised to go to the chemist to purchase such medication to take to the disciplinary hearing and to listen carefully to the

pharmacist while purchasing the medication. Astonishingly, the pharmacist did not make the customer aware of the contents of the drug. Ultimately the employee kept his job as it was confirmed that Paramol contains Codeine and this would register as an opiate in a drug test. But it’s not just Paramol, there are many over the counter medicines and tablets that contain Codeine combined with other ingredients such as Paracetamol, Aspirin or Ibruprofen. So, be aware that the tablets in your medicine cabinet bought without prescription could label you as a drug taker if you are drug tested and do not mention them on the form provided at the start of your test.

Bitter pills These common drugs could register on a test • Paracod • Panadeine

• Cocodapin • Nurofen Plus

In February 2011, a GMB member attended an emergency night-time call-out as a security officer for Swansea University. He was involved in an emergency evacuation of student accommodation when the properties were flooded. Prior to his arrival, contractors (who were not his employers) turned up and removed manhole covers without erecting guards or warning signs. He fell into one and sustained injuries to his knees, shock, and damage to his clothing and mobile phone. A claim was submitted to the contractors highlighting the dangerous condition of the workplace, and alleging breaches under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. The contractors failed to comply with the protocol governing claims, and failed to respond with their decision as to whether they accepted they were at fault. This forced us to make an application to the court requiring them to respond, which was successful. A denial of liability was received, alleging that the security officer should have been more vigilant (even though the accident occurred in the dark and during an emergency). This was unacceptable and backing was obtained to commence court action. A settlement was reached just before the trial was due to take place. Nick Hughes, GMB regional senior manager commented: “The union will continue to back its members NICK HUGHES to the hilt, even when GMB regional the circumstances are senior manager. complicated and the subject of considerable dispute.” 29



from GMB All the news

Beat the

blacklist! GMB fights for compensation for blacklisted workers


MB has launched High Court action to get compensation for members named on the construction industry blacklist. GMB has discovered there were thousands of workers on an illegal industry blacklist, and it is now seeking justice and compensation for each and every one of them. If you were a construction worker in the UK and you, as a trade union and health and safety activist, were denied employment by construction

companies for reasons that you could not explain, it may be that your name is on the industry blacklist. We are urging members to contact GMB so that we can cross-check our records and establish if you were one of the people named on the blacklist. Get in touch now using the contact details below.

n the list? are you o ve been the subject of

If you think you may ha ct GMB organiser blacklisting, please conta 3 or email: 80 Jeff Beck, on 01792 467 k


Vital signs G MB officer Wayne Powell and the Gloucester community branch are celebrating recently signing two very important new recognition agreements. The first is with Ubico, a company that looks after the waste and recycling for Cheltenham Borough Council and Cotswolds. Ubico is a new company set up by directors from the neighbouring authorities. As most authorities are looking to a shared service arrangement, we believe they will grow in the near future and perhaps run the waste and recycling management in other neighbouring 30

authorities. This agreement will allow GMB to increase membership in line with the company’s growth. Wayne Powell said: “I would like to place on record my thanks to Roger Hunt, branch secretary of the Gloucester community branch, who has been instrumental in negotiating this agreement.” The second recognition agreement is with Capita for the Fire Service College site in Moreton-in-the-Marsh; they have recently purchased the college and will undertake extensive training for the majority of fire brigades in the UK. This will hopefully end

the speculation on its closure, as they are looking to invest and run courses for other emergency services. Once again, special thanks to Roger Hunt and also Andy Prickett for all their help and support.


Recognition agreements signed with two companies thanks to GMB’s hard work

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a close shave GMB member sacrifices her hairdo to raise money for charity! Chris Gardener, an active member of GMB for many years, recently decided to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Care by having her hair shaved off. The shearing took place at Chris’s workplace, the Wilkinson Merthyr store. GMB organiser Jill Richards thanked members for sponsoring Chris and the charity: “It was a pleasure to support her in this important cause!” she says. On the subject of cancer care, the region will be forwarding motions to GMB Congress to lobby the government to bring the age for breast screening down to 40, as opposed to 50. There is an huge number of women affected by this disease who need screening at a much earlier age. We will also be lobbying for more education in relation to breast cancer.


SHORN TO WIN Jill Richards meets Chris Gardner on the day of the charity event.

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 Wales & south west region

Williamson House, 17 Newport Road, Cardiff CF24 0TB T: 029 2049 1260. F: 029 2046 2056 Email:

GMB bristol Office

4 Hide Market, Waterloo Street, Bristol BS2 0PH T: 0117 955 4470. F: 0117 955 4409

GMB colwyn bay Office 12 Wynnstay Road, Colwyn Bay, Conwy LL29 8NB T: 01492 535 313. F: 01492 535 314

GMB Cornwall Office

Can they kick it? The Radyr Rangers Under 11s, made up of children from Radyr and neighbouring areas, will be entering two teams into the

Cardiff & District League next season. GMB is delighted to sponsor their kit and we wish them an enjoyable season.

OBITUARIES The region is saddened to report the deaths of two former Regional Committee members earlier this year. Dave Burton, long serving Torfaen Local Authority branch secretary, passed away in March and Bill Williams (known as ‘W O’), long serving president of the Port Talbot Boilermakers branch, passed away in April. We also remember branch officials: Annelise Law, Ronald Nichols, Chris Bolton and Geoffrey Jones. They were dedicated to serving GMB members and were all long-standing colleagues and friends. We send our condolences to their families.

The Old Arts School, Clinton Road, Redruth TR15 2QE T:01209 213 950. F: 01209 203 982

GMB gloucester Office

36 Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JJ T: 01452 503 739

GMB plymouth Office

1st Floor Offices, Sandon Ct, 1 Craigie Drive, The Millfields, Plymouth, Devon PL13JB. T: 01752 660 219 F: 01752 604 478 Email:

GMB pontypridd Office

28e Taff Street, Pontypridd CF37 4TS T: 01443 491 959. F: 01443 405844

GMB swansea Office

Ground Floor, Alexandra House, 1 Alexandra Road, Swansea SA1 5ED T: 01792 467 803 . F: 01792 457 806 31

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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

Nexus summer 2013  

GMB magazine for the south western region

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