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The magazine for GMB members

Pulse The | Winter 2013

Home Front GMB

fights care home closures

e th f o p To Class! Our Sarah wins TUC learning award!

“I won a car with GMB. Could you be next?” See p17

How you can make a difference and have your say! GMB’s Purpose

“We work to improve the quality of life and provide new opportunities for all our members and their families. We aim to improve the lives of GMB members and make sure that their achievements lead the way for working people in Britain and across the world. . . We will aim to end exploitation, discrimination and injustice.” Taken from the GMB Rule Book

art of this? p e b o t t n a w u o y do

sionate about, tell us about • If you have an issue you feel pas what you want to change. ut the workplace, it can be about • Your issue doesn’t have to be abo es that affect you and your family. the wider political and social issu

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

You can help GMB shape a better future and make a real difference ed? How do I get involv

r chance to be part of • What you have to say could be you or GMB campaigns influencing GMB decision making them about your ideas • Contact your GMB branch and tell into a motion for debate at • Your issue could even be turned GMB Congress in June 2014 ch Regional Office by • Your branch’s motions must rea 31 January 2014 For more information please go to GMB Congress 2014 takes place from Sunday 8 June to Thursday 12 June 2014 in Nottingham. To attend you must be nominated by your branch, and be a paid-up member for 53 weeks.


In this issue…

Tim Roache d North GMB Yorkshire an l secretary na gio Derbyshire re

GMB young members get active Page 25

Get GMB in your pocket with the new mobile app Page 16



4 The care they deserve

9 Employer hostility

5 Star student

12 A Living Wage

6 Hospital help

13 Paul Kenny says

Fighting to keep our care homes open

GMB’s Sarah Barnes wins learning award

GMB looks out for NHS staff as stress levels rise and pressure increases

7 Tories take note

Thousands of members marched in Manchester to protest NHS cuts

8 GMB in Labour

GMB member Joshua Fenton-Glynn becomes Labour candidate

25 Youth movement

GMB young members put their questions to our regional secretary

28 Where you stand

GMB’s legal support and advice can help you with employment tribunals

30 Celebrating GMB Hardworking GMB representatives recognised by our regional officer

GMB regional editor Caroline Jones: 01924 887 266 Editorial director Stephen Pierce Editor Matt Robinson Art editor Johnny Goddard Contributors Victoria Ford, Ed Holden 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

Anti-union hostility should be against the law

GMB demands an extra £1 an hour

The latest from your general secretary

14 Wealth of the nation GMB reveals the UK’s economic performance by region

16 Get online with GMB! Get the GMB app for your smartphone!

17 Win a car!

Switch to Direct Debit for your chance to win a Toyota Aygo worth £9,000

18 Eyes on the NHS

GMB is fighting for workers’ rights in the NHS

20 Put Labour in power Why you should vote Labour in 2015

23 Worldwide solidarity

How GMB’s International Solidarity Fund is winning justice in Latin America

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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 Pulse 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.

I don’t think austerity worked As we see the slightest glimmer of recovery from the recession, this government is claiming that austerity worked and was a price worth paying. Firstly, they and their rich friends didn’t pay the price and secondly the economy had to pick up at some time. There was always going to come a time when we had to get the car fixed, to decorate the house or buy the essentials we’d put off for too long. But let’s look at the impact of the government’s cuts agenda. Average earnings in Yorkshire are £34 per week less than in 2008. That will never be recovered. In the public sector one million jobs will have gone by the next general election. These were reasonably paid, reasonably secure jobs that had a pension. Of the one million new jobs this government claims to have created, four in every five are low paid and one half are either temporary or zero hours contracts. This country is now so unequal that if you are in the worst off group in the UK, you will live seven years less than if you are from the best off group. Over the last three years, 93 per cent of new housing benefit claimants are also employed, meaning that they are having to claim benefits to top up their disgracefully low levels of pay. So given all of the above I’m afraid I, and I would think most people, don’t think austerity worked. The future, particularly for young people, is mighty bleak with university fees at £9,000 per year, a million others to compete with for a job at the end of it (most of those jobs temporary and low-paid), no council house to live in, not a chance of getting on the housing ladder, oh and a standard of living lower for the first time ever than their parents before them. I’m a father with three kids, so don’t talk to me about a price worth paying. In these most difficult of times you need your union membership more than ever and I thank you for being part of the GMB union which I value so highly. 03

l a n o i g e r


GMB m o r f s w e n All the

e r a c e tak

sure o l c e h t t h g i f s r e GMB memb ds e e L in s e r t n e c e r a c 0 of 1


ore than 100 GMB members,

residents and relatives have joined forces to protest the potential closure of six care homes and four day centres in Leeds. Plans to close the homes and day centres, which are run by Leeds City Council, have been approved by the authority amid ongoing protests by GMB. More than 100 people took to the streets to protest the closures, which will affect 76 residents, many

of whom are distraught at the prospect of having to move.

mes Beloved Ho

E DUTY OF CAR Jon Smith, GMB organiser, said: “Our members, the residents and their relatives have fought tirelessly to save these services. Over recent months, people have stood together to fight the closures but unfortunately the council has chosen to ignore their desperate plea and accept the proposals made by the chief officers within the council. Continuing, Jon said: “Our members are driven and their strength and commitment will not be diminished. Together we will continue to lobby the council against making these decisions. Council members should be focussing their attention on attacking the coalition’s savage

Residents at Amberton Court, Burley Willows, Fairview and Musgrave Court are to be transferred to alternative accommodation in the private sector. cuts that are being forced upon us. Manorfield and Primrose will remain They say you can judge society on open though they will be closed to how it treats its most vulnerable; any new admissions. Day centre and selling them out to the highest bidder is services provided by Naburn Court, certainly not the Doreen Hamilton, Queenswood d age HELPING the answer. GMB will also will Willows Burley and Drive GMB spearheads the protest continue in this fight.” . ures face closure. clos over council care


The cost of care

These closures come following reports that residential care in the UK is more expensive than ever. According to research by Prestige Nursing + Care, vulnerable people face mounting care bills.


The average cost of care rose 9.3 per cent in two years

£28,367 The annual cost of a room now


Average room cost is double average pensioner income.


The wealth level over which patients must pay their bills

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LEARNING LEADER GMB ULR Sarah Barnes accepts her award.

GMB member wins learning award in Bournemouth SAVE OUR HOMES Residents join GMB members at protest.


Care Home Cuts

have also been out in GMB members in Rotherham posed staffing cuts at pro r force to demonstrate ove h. oug bor the two care homes in Court are making staff Lord Hardy Court and Davies exercise by ving reductions as part of a cost-sa GMB and the from s cern con Rotherham Council. But ut the impact abo ed rais n bee e hav ts families of residen both of ty the safe that job losses could have on residents and staff. ham GMB branch Speaking to The Pulse, Rother not cut this number can u “Yo : said ty, secretary, Eric Bat e repercussions on the of staff without incurring som and our members.” health and safety of residents

GMB member Sarah Barnes received the top Union Learning Rep Award at the TUC conference in Bournemouth in September. She was presented with the award by TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady. Sarah left school at 16 with no qualifications. But she returned to learning as a GMB member, becoming part of GMB’s Union Learning Representatives scheme. Inspired by the Union Learning course, Sarah became a Union Learning Rep herself and now works with clients and staff from the Doncaster branch of the social enterprise homeless charity Action Housing and Support.

better learning Sarah recently applied to the Union Learning Fund for eight tablets and a printer to further enable clients to learn with up-to-the-minute technology skills. Sarah said: “My ULR role

is very rewarding. I’ve been able to open up opportunities for clients that they may not otherwise have had. I am proud to be able to help people get back into learning and it is wonderful to see them find educational success and get their lives back on course.”

Inspirational Sarah has recently found the funding for a new course to help staff and clients of the Doncaster branch and GMB has been a great help, she confirms. “GMB has been great and I attend as many ULR meetings as I can and grab any training that I can get.” GMB regional secretary, Tim Roache, said: “GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region is very proud of Sarah. We hope that her TUC award will encourage even more of our GMB members to get back to the valuable learning that will improve their opportunities in life so much.”

lr becomecomeaa u GMB Union Learning Find out how to be Rep at www.gmbyorks

5 05



from GMB All the news NECK OF TIME Much-needed massages were given to NHS workers.


GMB battles soaring stress levels for NHS workers


acing internal reorganisation and a national NHS reshuffle, there’s no question that GMB members in the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust are under incredible stress. This Summer, GMB conducted a stress awareness campaign across the Trust’s five sites to see if the circumstances that were highlighted in the National NHS Staff Survey last year had improved. Unfortunately, the reverse seems to be the case and GMB found that 67 per cent of staff questioned had suffered work-related stress in the

work in theuldnhs like to

Relax Asbestos register

and wo If you work for the NHS resentative then please rep e lac rkp wo a me beco 0845 337 7777 contact Joan Keane on or email joan.keane@g

Asbestos Register Illnesses relating to asbestos in the workplace continue to be reported. GMB members who believe they have at some point in their working lives come into contact with any form of asbestos should register with GMB. Contact us on 0845 337 7777 or visit to download a copy of the asbestos register.


of the community

GMB opens Community Learning Centre in the Dearne Valley

In June, a community-based learning centre was opened by the GMB Community Organising Project in partnership with Unionlearn and DECV, a Thurnscoe-based educational charity. The centre offers free access to a variety of courses from ICT to English, literacy, family history and much more. The Community Organising Project has been working in Thurnscoe for over a year with DECV to improve access to their centre. The project has now invested to upgrade the computers and equipment at the centre. This has been achieved with the support of GMB and Unionlearn. If you would like to know more about the centre or the support that’s available, contact GMB’s project worker for the area, David Pike via email at 06

last six months. 73 per cent of staff had felt under pressure to attend work when ill and 36 per cent had suffered bullying or harassment at work. Lou Foster-Wilson from GMB’s regional organising team, said: “These are damning statistics. Despite all that has been promised by hospital management, nothing has improved for our members since last year when the national survey took place. As a result of the poor local survey findings our reps have clear evidence to put to management that more needs to be done to solve these problems. No one should be in a position where their work makes them sick.”

LEARNING FOR ALL The community learning centre is vital to Thurnscoe.


SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT


of the nation GMB members march to save the NHS at the Tory conference

More than 55,000 people who love the NHS marched through Manchester on Sunday 29 September, directing their protest at the visiting Tories who had gathered for their annual conference. Nye Bevan, Labour Minister credited with the creation of our health service, once famously said: “The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it” so GMB members from the region headed to Manchester in their hundreds. Bill Chard, membership development officer, said: “People love our National Health Service and there are plenty of folk prepared to fight for it as was shown by the fantastic turnout at the Tory conference. The Tories tried their best 60 years ago to stop Labour introducing the NHS and they are intent on privatising it now and letting their friends run it for them. We won’t let that happen.”



GMB reps meet to protect the NHS

The best medicine David and Lynne, who work in a Sheffield school, looking very proud of their achievements.

SOUNDING OFF Alex Thornhill makes a stand for the NHS.

A safer way of working GMB’s Safe Handling of Medicines course, which was featured in the last issue of The Pulse, has taken off and is receiving positive feedback from learners. To find out more about this course and others that GMB’s Community Organising Project can offer, please contact Piotr Plonka or Julie Whitaker on 01924 887 277.

GMB NHS reps from across the region came together in September for the regional NHS Forum facilitated by NHS lead officer, Joan Keane. Topics up for discussion included the fight to save the NHS and plans for the NHS demo at the Tory Party conference. An overview of the Francis and Kehoe report was

presented and a discussion on workplace plans to help build GMB membership in the NHS was held. Delegates were also able to get involved in a Q&A session with GMB national secretary, Rehana Azam, who provided an update on the current work at national level to save the NHS.

PROTECT THE NHS GMB reps gather for the good of the health service. 07



from GMB All the news

Making a

DRIVING FORCE Labour candidate Joshua Fenton-Glynn.


GMB member Joshua Fenton-Glynn explains why he wanted to become the Labour candidate for Calder Valley


am a proud trade unionist and GMB member and I have recently been selected as the Labour party candidate in the marginal constituency of Calder Valley. I was brought up by my mother in Calder Valley and my first job was at Calder High School, my old comprehensive school. “People in Calder Valley can’t afford another government like this one. That’s why I decided to stand. Since 2010, the sitting MP has been

Craig Whittaker, a right wing Tory who has spent his time in office slavishly voting for cuts to workers’ rights, pay, terms and conditions as well as undermining the welfare state that we have taken years to build. In fact, the only time he votes against the government is when they are trying to extend people’s rights. He voted against the same sex marriage equality bill. “Since I was chosen as a candidate at the end of June I have been working throughout

the constituency to fight cuts. Early battlegrounds have included threats to our local NHS provision and cuts to bus services. “Labour is at its best when working with local communities to fight for services and present an inclusive vision for the future of our communities and the country. That’s what I stand for as a candidate and what I would stand for as an MP. I look forward to working together with trade unionists to campaign for a better future for all.”

Meet the Mayor GMB member Ann Martin is sworn in as the Mayor of Calderdale

TOP JOB GMB congratulates new mayor Ann Martin.


GMB member and Labour Councillor Ann Martin was beaming in her robes and chain following her appointment as Mayor of Calderdale. Ann started in politics through the trade union movement. She was a shop steward for the Post Office Workers’ Union from 1962 to 1972, then joined the National Association of Local Government Officers to work as PA to the industrial liaison officer at the University of Huddersfield.

Ann joined GMB in 1979 when she started to work for the newly-elected Member of the European Parliament for West Yorkshire, Barry Seal. She was first elected to Calderdale Council in 1996 to 2000, representing the Brighouse Ward. She was then re-elected from 2002 to 2004. After an eight-year break, Ann was elected again in 2012 and became Mayor of Calderdale in 2013. Congratulations Ann!

l na O I T NA


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

Bring YOUR mag to life! Discover a world of extras when you point your smartphone at the pages of this GMB magazine. To get started, download the Layar app from 1 Download the Layar app for iPhone and Android devices.

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

3 Watch as it comes to life on your screen.

’ s r e k r o w h it w g in r Interfe union rights should be a B M G s y a s , e c n e ff criminal o

Rex Features/iStock


he TUC Congress has backed a GMB call for laws to make it a criminal offence for hostile employers to interfere with the civil rights of workers who seek the support of a trade union when they have problems at work. Martin Smith, GMB national organiser, said: “So hostile are employers like Amazon, Next and Sports Direct that union organisation is driven underground and union members are forced to adopt the tactics of the French Resistance or a human rights campaign under a totalitarian regime. The blacklisting of 3,214 construction workers across the country shows that

GET ON THE CASE! We need a Leveson-style inquiry into blacklisting.

corporations are unafraid to take this kind of action.” Martin’s comments come at a time when unions are unhappy that companies who have blacklisted workers have still not been held accountable. GMB wants a Levesonstyle inquiry into the practice. Martin added: “Oppressive activity at work that denies our members their basic human rights should be against the law. GMB calls on the next Labour government to make it a criminal offence for an employer to deny workers their basic right to organise themselves and seek the support of a trade union when they have problems at work.”

SEE YOU IN COURT! GMB activists protest outside Swansea Crown Court.

are you On the Blacklist? Contact Phil Read, GMB r blacklisting Liaison Office or 7 99 on 07840 897 k




from GMB All the news

s i h t s s o b r u o is y


Daily Mirror columnist Paul Routledge on how GMB is fighting employer hostility

very employee is free to join a trade union – and not get the sack just for doing so. That’s the theory. The reality on the shopfloor can be very different. As too many workers are finding, employer hostility is spreading throughout industry. Two hundred years after the Tolpuddle Martyrs were transported to Australia for daring to organise themselves against starving wages, history is repeating itself. Employers are targetting workers who seek to bring the benefits of trade unionism to their place of work. They might not be clapped in leg-irons and shipped off to Botany Bay, but they do face discrimination and even dismissal. It takes a brave man or women to stand up for our rights supposedly guaranteed by law. Thankfully, there are brave men and women in every workplace willing to take up the challenge. But they shouldn’t be left to fight alone. They need legal protection from employers like Next, Amazon and Sports Direct who actively prevent employees turning to unions when they have problems in the workplace. Working people have a theoretical right under international law to free association and combination with whoever they choose. But hostile employers deny this right by intimidating or victimising anyone who turns to a union for help. It’s time such intimidation was outlawed by making it a criminal offence interfere with workers exercising their civil

right to organise and seek the support of a trade union when they have problems. The 2013 TUC Congress has endorsed this strategy after GMB national organiser Martin Smith urged that the next Labour government must do more than repeal old anti-union laws. They must deliver protection from bully bosses who strike fear into workers who join a union.

GMB in Amazon This corporate bullying is widespread. Take Amazon, the hugely successful online shopping firm. It takes billions of pounds in sales every year – on which they pay as little tax as possible. GMB is committed to organising and representing workpeople at Amazon. Two thirds of the company’s 15,000 workers in this country are agency workers. And the agency isn’t even a UK operation. It’s a Dutch agency, so they’re not protected by even the inadequate regulations applying to agencies here. They need a union, but they live in fear of what might happen if they dare let Amazon know they have joined and are organising support to resist a bullying management. Being a trade unionist at Amazon is like being in an underground movement, like the French wartime resistance. It’s as bad as that. I can’t even tell you where these brave GMB members work

“Left to their own devices employers spy and they lie.”


iStock x 3

Bring these pages to life! because they might be identified and their jobs put in jeopardy. Or take Next, another shopping chain that makes handsome profits. Earlier this year, GMB members employed in their stores fought and won a campaign to stop the company from imposing a cut in hours worked for all workers to less than twelve and a half hours a week. The aim of this management trick was to avoid the company paying the employer’s share of National Insurance contributions, saving money and diminishing workers’ rights.

What we NEed That battle was won, but at a cost. There is a constant anxiety that Next will exact revenge and find pretexts to force them out of work because they forced the employer to back down – and that some of them have no protection from unfair dismissal. Since April this year, if you want to challenge your employer for unfairly sacking you, you have to have worked for the company for two years – double the time under Labour. You have no rights if you’ve been there a year and 364 days. How many workers in retail are given jobs that last as long as that? What’s more, if you go to an industrial tribunal, you’ll be required to pay as much as £1,200 – 200 hours working at the national minimum wage up front before they will hear your case. That’s the price of justice under the ConDem government. It must be nervewracking to try to organise under such conditions. But it shouldn’t be like that. The shadow of fear must be lifted from the exercise of this basic freedom to turn to a union for support when you have a problem at work. With the demise of

INTIMIDATED AT WORK? GMB is tackling bosses who victimise union members.


traditional industries like coal and steel, employment has shifted to retail, distribution, information technology, call centres and similar workplaces. They almost always lack representation, because business bosses are hostile and resistant to unions. They don’t want workers to exercise their legal rights, meagre as they are. They hate the very idea of collective bargaining. They want to hire and fire without restraint. But NEXT UP Next workers vote for that’s where trade unionism the right to have a union. is most needed, and where it must go, to help those who into workplaces to deal need it most. with problems they face at work – if need be The demand is there. When GMB asked with sanctions against recalcitrant companies Asda distribution depot workers across the who refuse to toe the line. UK what they want in recognition ballots an It can be done. A Labour government in overwhelming majority per cent voted in Wales has taken action to halt the scourge of favour. Even workers who didn’t want to join blacklisting by threatening to withhold themselves voted for the right for everyone contracts from firms proven to be engaged in to have representation. this obscene practise. Nothing persuades the This basic civil right should be enshrined in private sector faster than a possible ban on a new legal framework, within which bidding for lucrative public contracts. workpeople can feel confident of getting The blacklisting scandal shows that left to together for the common good without their own devices employers spy and they lie. looking over their shoulder for the boss What the companies say and what the bearing down on them with a P45. companies do are two different things. For any worker to be represented by a trade t Labour Suppor union in their workplace is a civil right that must be protected to the highest level, with new That’s why GMB took the issue of employer legislation backed by imprisonment and hostility and the coalition attack on trade unlimited fines for anyone who interferes with it. union rights to the Labour conference. For the Labour Party, these should be bread Delegates backed a call for the party and butter manifesto commitments right now. leadership to convene “as a matter of And if it can be done, it should be done. As urgency” a commission on employment Maria Ludkin, GMB’s legal officer, told the 2013 rights. The purpose of this body will not just Labour Conference : “We live in a country be to redress new anti-trade union policies with one of the most flexible Labour markets brought in by this government, but to give an in Europe. But at the same time some of the active right for workers to be able to turn to weakest employment rights in the western unions when they have problems at work. world. But this government is not content This is vital to winning the war for job with that. They have mounted a sustained security. As of now, firms like Amazon can just attack on the rights of working people, with a slam the door in the face of anyone seeking to systematic casualisation of labour, and organise a union presence. They can – and do comprehensive destruction of legal aid. – put a Chinese wall around the workplace, “This is about millions of working people sealing off their employees from help. having the protection from a Labour A Labour government must change that, government that they will never get from the legislating to give employees total freedom to Tories or the Liberal Democrats. No more turn to unions when they need help. Nobody prevarication – but protection for the workers. is forced to join a union. The closed shop was “After all, how much more protection do ended years ago. Instead, we have closed employers need from working people?” minds – on the other side. Hear, hear! Ed Miliband has shown he Ed Miliband has shown a willingness to take is willing to take on the might of the energy on the big battalions in the energy industry. barons with a gas and electricity price He’s ready to force firms to employ freeze. Now, he should listen to the voices apprentices. He should bring the same of ordinary workers who demand the right courage to the issue of employment and to join and organise without fear of trade union membership rights, compelling employer intimidation. employers to enable workers to bring unions 11


Move Directo t D e b i t www.gmb .o


from GMB All the news


MB is seeking a minimum pay increase of £1 an hour for local council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to raise their pay level to a Living Wage hourly rate. GMB believe the same £1 an hour increase should also apply to all pay points above the bottom rate as well. Local council workers in Scotland are currently considering an offer for a Living Wage of £7.58 an hour from April 2014. 200,000 GMB members are covered by these agreements. It is a scandal that 500,000 local government workers are paid below the current Living Wage of £7.45 (£8.55 in London) an hour. This rate will increase in November. Politicians from all parties have recently called for action to deal with low pay and are encouraging individual local authorities to pay a Living Wage. 85 councils in England and Wales are now paying or are committed to paying a Living Wage.

All 32 councils in Scotland are currently paying the Living Wage or will be within a year. Brian Strutton, GMB national secretary for public services, said: “One and a half million council workers have seen their living standards cut by 18 per cent and 400,000 of their colleagues have lost their jobs. I don’t believe any section of the economy has taken such an austerity hit as local authority staff. Street cleaners, school dinner staff, social workers, gravediggers, classroom assistants and all the other unsung heroes serving their local communities deserve a decent pay rise. GMB’s claim for £1 an hour is not a king’s ransom but it will go some way towards restoring the real pay cuts that council staff have endured. Politicians have been right to call for action on low pay to end the hardship facing those on poverty wages and boost demand in the economy. Low pay and poverty pay are endemic in local government with too many members now reliant on tax credits and pay day loans.”

We d deman

An extra

r u o An h 12

Which councils pay a Living Wage? • Ashfield • Barking and Dagenham • Barnsley • Bassetlaw • Blackpool • Birmingham • Braintree • Brent • Brighton and Hove • Bristol • Bromsgrove • Burnley, • Caerphilly • Calderdale • Camden • Cambridge • Cardiff • Carlisle • Cherwell • Chorley • City of London • Coventry • Crawley • Croydon • Dartford • Deal • Ealing • Enfield • Exeter • Gedling • Gloucester • Greenwich • Haringey • Harlow • Harrow • Hastings • Hessle Town • Hounslow • Hyndburn • Ipswich • Islington • North Kesteven • Lambeth • Lancaster • Leicester • Lewisham • Malvern Hills • Mansfield • Manchester • Melton Mowbray • Merton • Newark and Sherwood • Newham • Newcastle under Lyme • Newcastle upon Tyne • Newport • Norwich • Nottingham • Oldham • Oxford • Plymouth • Preston • Redcar and Cleveland • Rossendale • Salford • Sandwell • Scarborough • Sheffield • Slough • South Gloucestershire • South Hams • Southwark • Stroud • Surrey • Swindon • Swansea • Tamworth • Thurrock • Tower Hamlets • South Tyneside • Walsall • Winchester • Wirral • Worcester • Wolverhampton • Wyre Forest • York • All 32 councils in Scotland now pay or are soon to begin paying a Living Wage.


£1 an hour pay rise to achieve Living Wage for local government workers

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Paul kenn y



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

The determination to fight blacklisting is among our finest achievements


he recent startling revelations that the police and other state controlled bodies have been found to have provided information to the anti trade union blacklisting company “The Consulting Association” may have come as a shock to MPs, journalists and some others in the world. But for many of us this was just confirmation of what we always knew but could never prove. This company, now defunct, was funded and controlled by a large number of private sector companies whose intent was to discriminate and thereby victimise trade union members whose only crime was to ask about health and safety or attend meetings. Many victims of this evil intrusion into the most basic of our civil rights were denied employment and suffered huge damage to their personal lives and that of their families.

The truth Will out GMB has been fighting to uncover the truth for years and now, working with the Blacklist Support Group and others, we are beginning to see the layers of lies and corruption peeled back to expose the rotten core of how employers and state

conspired to interfere with and destroy the right of working people to organise. What has also shocked many is the extent of the blacklisting: lawyers, journalists, peace campaigners, environmentalists and the latest victim to be uncovered – the comedian and campaigner for freedom Mark Thomas. The whole story of this disgraceful episode would take more column inches than I am allowed but thousands of ordinary men and women were blacklisted and 2,768 still don’t know they are on the list because the government department responsible for dealing with this has failed to contact them! This in itself raises huge questions about the role government has played in seeking to cover this up. The so-called Information commission seems to be anything but when it comes to giving people information relating to behaviour from employers and the state. In recent days, eight of the largest companies involved in organising, funding and controlling this blacklisting operation have admitted their involvement and offered an apology and a compensation scheme for affected victims. GMB’s position has been that tough measures must be taken with these companies, though these may be far from

enough to stop this all happening again. New tough laws to protect the rights of workers trying to organise a union in their workplace or in their community must have protection from discrimination and victimisation. The work done in exposing this evil conspiracy will all count for nothing if the law continues to fail ordinary people exercising their civil rights.

Deleting the list In the coming months, GMB will continue to campaign for a public inquiry into the collusion between the state and certain employers which not only allowed this blacklisting to exist but actually encouraged and supported it. GMB has done many things of which we can be proud during our history but I believe the determination shown to fight and expose blacklisting will rank among our finest achievements. The right of people to exercise their civil freedoms to organise, demonstrate or just question those who govern us at work or in society is such a basic right that it cannot be given away by apathy. On page 9 of this magazine you will find details of GMB’s campaign and how to find out if you or anyone you know is on the list and may be liable for compensation. 13



from GMB All the news

e h t n o w u o Have y

l a n o i Reg lottery?

GMB map reveals economic activity across the UK and Ireland

Northern Ireland 86%

Border, Midland and Western 85%


key map (opposite) sums up how much economic activity there is per resident in all the 39 sub regions of the UK and Ireland where GMB members live. The result for each area is shown as a percentage of the average across all 27 countries in the European Union (EU). It will come as no surprise that inner London has the highest level of economic output per resident at nearly three times that of the European average. It will be a surprise that for the South East of England, far from all of it being an 14

economic success story, there are areas below the average. The latest figures are for 2010 but there has been little or no recovery since then. Few will realise that the economies of the North East of Scotland, Southern and Eastern Ireland and Cheshire or those areas off the M4 corridor are stronger than Essex or Kent. In fact in 26 of the 39 sub regions in the UK and Ireland, regional gross domestic product per resident is below the average per resident in the EU.

Southern and Eastern 145%

Gross domestic product (GDP) in an area is made up of all economic activity including farming and fishing, mining, oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, construction, utilities, transport and commercial and public services. GDP is a key measure of an area’s economic development and is often used as an indicator of living standards.

Rex Features x 2

POWER HOUSES London’s financial districts host the wealth of the nation.

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NATional Upda your GtMe Prof B www.gmb ile .or

Highlands and Islands 87%

Eastern Scotland 109%

North Eastern Scotland 162%

“This GMB map should sound a clarion call for investment.”

INDUSTRIAL HEART Fossil fuel extraction props up regional economies.

The map confirms that Mrs Thatcher’s legacy to the old industrial heartlands in the UK is that they have fallen far behind 88% the EU average in terms of output and living standards. Tess Valley In West Wales and the Valleys gross and Durham domestic product per resident is the 77% Cumbria lowest of the 39 areas in these islands 94% West Yorkshire at 70 per cent of the EU average. North The next ten lowest are: Cornwall Lancashire Yorkshire and Isles of Scilly (72 per cent), East Yorkshire and 93% Tees Valley and Durham (77 Northern Lincolnshire Greater Manchester per cent), Lincolnshire (78 per 83% 81% cent), Merseyside, East South Yorkshire 95% Merseyside Yorkshire and Northern 96% Lincolnshire, South Leicestershire, Rutland 81% 81% Yorkshire and Shropshire and Northamptonshire Lincolnshire and Staffordshire (all on 81 78% Cheshire Derbyshire Bedfordshire and per cent), Lancashire (83 118% and Notts Hertfordshire per cent), Border, Midland 92% and Western in Ireland (85 Shropshire and Staffordshire per cent) and Northern Ireland 81% West Midlands (86 per cent). East Anglia 95% 104% Herefordshire, This GMB map should sound a 100% Worcestershire clarion call for investment that and Warwickshire 94% will bring jobs and prosperity to East West Wales Wales the old industrial heartlands and the and The 100% 113% rural areas that desperately need it. Berkshire, Valleys Essex Politicians must heed that call with 70% Bucks and 89% regional policies. The devolution of Oxfordshire economic powers to local and regional 115% Gloucestershire, 143% level is essential. GMB will lead the calls Wiltshire and for action. Bristol/Bath Kent 109% New jobs and investment has to be Dorset and 90% 114% the top priority for national and Cornwall and Somerset Isles of Scilly local governments and the EU. The Devon 92% 87% public and private sectors must Inner London co-operate to achieve this growth 328% 72% and development as neither can Hampshire and Surrey, East and Outer London do it on their own. Isle of Wight West Sussex 95% South Western Scotland 109%

Northumberland and Tyne and Wear 15


UPDATE get online with GMB from GMB All the news GMB’s website lets you manage your membership and keep up to date


f you’re not registered online, it’s easy to sign up. Go to and click GMB ‘member login’. You’ll just need your GMB membership number.

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

Get the GMB App Get the latest from GMB wherever you are with the new GMB app. Since the app was launched a few months ago, thousands of members have downloaded it to their smartphones. It’s available to download now 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

case study Gavin Palmer “I’m really glad I have it. It’s so convenient and easy to use – it puts all your membership information at your fingertips. I talk to a lot of members and I always recommend the GMB app.” Gavin Palmer is a GMB workplace organiser at Barking and Daggenham Local Authority. Representing members across the borough, he doens’t always have access to a computer, so getting the GMB app on his smartphone has proved invaluable.

Site Update! Fresh tools online! Are you looking to up-skill or organise your workplace? We’re updating the GMB@Work resources online so GMB post holders will be able to download everything they need. From training information to health and safety regulations, you’re just a couple of clicks away from making your workplace stronger and safer.

Go to 16

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regional NATional exclus ive to


membe rs prize dra w

“I won a car with GMB – now it’s

your turn!”


iStock/ Car winner Kevin Nixon

irect Debit members will be in with a chance to win this gorgeous Toyota Aygo worth £9,000. You can be a winner regardless of whether you already pay by Direct Debit or are switching now – all you have to do is enter our prize draw. The draw closes at midnight on 31 December 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. Your membership is not made known to your employer. • 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. • There’s no need to go through any boring admin to keep your GMB membership up to date. It’s all handled for you!

Last issue’s Toyota Aygo winner Annette Kay said: “I went to the GMB website to update my details and pressed the button to enter the competition. Now I’m a winner.” Use the Layar app to see the full interview on your sma rtphone. Runners up: Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Region’s Mrs K Hibbet won an iPad . Birmingham and West Midlands Region’s Mrs R Wils on won an iPhone.

Switch to Direct Debit to enter this exclusive GMB prize draw to win a Toyota Aygo worth £9,000

Reasons to switch away from check-off • GMB pays an administration fee on this. • Help GMB make that saving by switching away from check-off to Direct Debit.

design a new banner for gmb

how to enter Simply go to competition 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 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. You can also enter by post. Just write to Freepost RSTL-ULCH-JBET GMB, 22 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD, and request to switch your payment to Direct Debit – good luck!

TERMS & CONDITIONS The winning entry will be drawn at random from GMB members who pay their GMB subscription by Direct Debit. It will be drawn after midnight on the closing date of 31 December 2013. 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 signed up to Direct Debit at midnight on 31 December 2013. This prize draw is not open to any GMB employees or family members. The result of the draw is final. All entrants agree to publicity in GMB material. Only one entry per eligible GMB member.

FLY YOUR FLAG You could create ou r new GMB banner. This is your chance to be part of GMB history and win £1,000 by designin g new GMB banners. Designs should cele brate what it means to be a GMB member today. Entries will be judged by Mar y Turner, GMB President, who is look ing forward to seeing your ideas! Enter now at gmb-banner-competition but be quick! The draw closes at midnight on 31 December 2013. 17



from GMB All the news


NHS staff told to join GMB before it’s too late


housands of NHS employees are facing a grim future as the Tory-led coalition opens the health service to private companies. GMB has concerns that, as well as inviting profiteers to take over our NHS, the government is allowing the all-important TUPE regulations to be eroded. GMB is telling those who want to protect their pay, holidays and rights at work to join now before it’s too late! The TUPE (Transfer of undertakings and protection of employment) regulations were set up to ensure that employees’ rights are not infringed upon when their employment is passed from one employer to another. As the coalition continues to allow private profiteers to take over sections of the NHS, thousands of GMB members are relying on TUPE to ensure their interests are protected. Employment relations minister Jo Swinson said: “TUPE rules are essential to making sure that when a business is transferred from one

ON THE LOOKOUT NHS staff should be wary of new employers.

company to another, it happens in a fair and efficient way. There have been some areas of uncertainty and confusion for businesses trying to comply.” GMB members have been victims of the employment practices of private companies who are buying up sections of the NHS. Maria Ludkin, GMB legal and corporate affairs officer, said: “It is the major companies that profit NHS UNDER THREAT from work paid by public funds who GMB members have made clear . are the primary movers behind their objection to NHS privatisation these attacks on the protective concerned about their pay and TUPE legislation. These employers are also employment conditions is to join GMB. Your major donors to the local GMB branch and representative will be Tory Party. Therefore it able to offer vital assistance if any difficulty is no surprise to GMB with your new employer arises or if you are members who have involved in an incident at work. If you have been victims of the any colleagues who are yet to become GMB employment practices members, make sure they join up. of these companies The more members we gather in that they successfully threatened workplaces, the better equipped pushed through these we will be to fight any injustices. changes to the rules Tell your colleagues to join GMB now at and regulations.” The best first step for NHS staff who are


iStock x 2

“These private companies are also major donors to the Tory party.”




from GMB All the news



the new

gas et’s put L man labour

GMB stalwart Aubrey Thompson takes over as industrial side chair Aubrey Thompson joined GMB on his first day at British Gas back in 1975. Having established himself as a reliable and dedicated GMB rep and member, Aubrey is proudly stepping up to the role of GMB industrial side chair. Aubrey became a rep before the age of 25 when he was asked to represent his service and repair colleagues at the Macclesfield British Gas depot. Shortly afterwards the distribution engineers in the same area asked him to be their rep. Within a few months he was looking after more than 60 colleagues. In 1999 he was asked by his GMB colleagues to become their regional steward and within a month was elected to be the area joint secretary, starting work immediately on the 2000 Agreement. We congratulate Aubrey and wish him even more success in his new position. 20

in power

Labour’s new policies could bring about a Labour government in 2015


he new Labour manifesto demonstrates that a Labour government will be on the side of ordinary families. There is a real difference between a Labour government and the incumbent Tory/Lib Dem coalition. The last Labour government set up the National Minimum Wage (NMW), increased pensions and child benefit, introduced the right to paid holidays and brought in the pension protection fund, which protects pensions when firms go bust. There was an outcry from the energy companies about the freezing of energy bills proposed by Ed Miliband. They say

this would result in power cuts and the lights going out. But this is just scaremongering born of their concerns over their profit margins. The same tactics were used when the Labour government announced the introduction of the National Minimum Wage. The Tories said it would cost a million jobs. In fact it raised two million people out of poverty. We must stop the attacks that this government is inflicting on society. To do that we need Labour Party policies we can campaign on. The ConDem politicians continue to blame the last Labour government for the 2008 economic meltdown. In fact the

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tacts political con

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

GMB London Region Gary Doolan 020 7391 6748

GMB Midland & East Coast Region

Richard Oliver 0115 960 7171

GMB Northern Region Chris Jukes 0191 233 3930

GMB North West & Irish Region Neil Smith 0151 727 0077

GMB Scotland

Richard Leonard 0141 332 8641

GMB Southern Region Michelle Gordon 020 8397 8881

GMB Wales & South West Region

Rex Features x 5/iStock

Labour’s new policies global economic crisis started in America and spread throughout the developed world. It was the action taken by Gordon Brown and the Labour Government, ploughing money into the economy, that ensured that the UK’s ATMs remained full. Otherwise our economy would have crashed. It was this action that actually saved the UK economy and, yes, it’s created a deficit that needs paying back. The best and quickest way to pay it back is to stimulate growth and create jobs.

Freezing energy bills for 20 month s to sort out the m arket and the energy compani es and introduce a tougher new regu lator. An increase from 15 to 25 hours of free child care fo r three and fouryear-olds to help working parents make it worthwh ile going out to work to provide for their families. A commitment to abolishing the ‘bedroom tax’ th at is making life so difficult for disabl ed people. A pledge that 20 0,000 new hom es will be built, pena lising developers that hoard land an d freeing council s from planning re gulations.

Mike Payne 029 2049 1260

GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region Steve Jennings 0845 337 7777

GMB Euston Political Team Cath Speight, national political officer 020 7391 6746 Heidi Benzing 020 7391 6749 Gary Doolan 020 7391 6748 Hilary Perrin 020 7391 6753

e! get onrtylin what you

Tell the Labour Pa esto at want in the Labour Manif k g.u .or ain rit rb y ne mo ing giv Find out who’s at s rie To to the 21



from GMB All the news

GMB SUPPORT GMB members have raised the profile of the ARC.

0 0 0 , 3 €2 is just a start


Grainne Griffin on how GMB members are helping the Irish Abortion Rights Campaign


he Abortion Rights Campaign This is a terrible injustice to the women and (ARC) is a movement for choice families who have suffered the indignity of and change in Ireland and Northern travel to access an abortion. The bill is also Ireland. It campaigns for free, safe problematic for women facing emergency and legal abortion. The ARC has joined forces medical situations like those faced by Savita with the Workers Beer Company (WBC) and Halannapavar, who died when she was denied GMB’s members to an abortion. raise money to fight The Irish ARC’s for Irish women to relationship with the have the same rights WBC started earlier as women in Britain. this year when it was The results have been approved to be a amazing! The volunteer group. relationship has led to Asking for volunteers an influx of volunteers to work at bars and a huge fundraising proved a hit with ARC UNION BONDS boost, helping the ARC The Workers Beer Company supporters, attracting take its message to an a large base of young joined forces with the ARC. even wider audience. people only too The legislation recently introduced in happy to work at some of the biggest music Ireland, ‘The Protection of Life in Pregnancy events in Ireland this summer. Bill’ does not establish safe and accessible Working with GMB members from the abortion. The bill means that a person can North West and Irish region and WBC brought have a termination if they are dying, and their some unexpected bonuses. Our request for life can only be saved by having an abortion. volunteers brought hundreds of people into However the fact remains that a clear contact with ARC’s campaign for choice. We majority of people in Ireland support wider received nearly 500 applications in just three access to termination. hours after posting the request on Facebook! 22

We now have hundreds of new recipients for our email bulletin too. The bonds built behind bars this summer will help build an active campaign. Indeed, many WBC volunteers helped steward this year’s March for Choice! 172 volunteers, five concerts and three festivals later, WBC volunteers raised €23,000 for ARC. Even more significantly, strong relationships have been built. Strong union support will be essential to bringing in constitutional change in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Our work with WBC and GMB was a great step on the road to full union support of a pro-choice agenda. The Abortion Rights Campaign look forward to working with all unions across Ireland and Northern Ireland to develop their policies on abortion rights.

get involved

to the To volunteer or sign up it: vis ter let ws ARC’s ne www.abortionrights


Bring these pages to life!



BECOME A GM HealthB safety & rep w ww.gmb

GMB members have donated £33,000 to the International Solidarity Fund


he International Solidarity Fund was officially launched at GMB Congress in June, 2011. Since then GMB members from 42 branches have shown their support for union members across the globe and donated more than £33,000 towards trade unions in Latin America’s agricultural sector. GMB works with the Latin American Coordinating Body of Latin American Banana and Agro-industrial Unions, known as COLSIBA, part of the International Union of Food Workers (IUF). Despite the global reach of international trade union bodies, GMB members’ help is vital in their fight for bargaining rights and in giving their union organisers the power to get decent work for the men and women who produce the pineapples and bananas sold in UK supermarkets.

FAIRER FRUIT GMB is helping Latin American farmers get a better deal.

War on want/Jim Peterson

Who we’ve helped

GMB members’ donations to the International Solidarity Fund have already helped: • Nicaraguan union, FETRABACH, to get a 30 per cent pay rise for its members in one of Central America’s poorest countries • New Peruvian union SITAG, representing over 5,000 workers in the production and export of bananas, to train workers about women’s leadership, health and safety, HIV/AIDS prevention and collective bargaining • SITAG to get jobs back for 33 sacked workers and recruit hundreds of new fee paying members that strengthen the organisation and make it financially independent.

SHOW OF HANDS Who’s been helped by GMB’s International Solidarity Fund? Workers on tropical fruit plantations endure harsh conditions. Union-busting firms operate in most producer countries and some activists are in fear for their lives. Giant supermarket chains in Britain make upwards of a £1million a week surplus from the sale of bananas. Their suppliers can get as little as one per cent of the retail price but supermarket executives and shareholders benefit from profits measured in the billions. Latin American workers sometimes don’t earn enough to feed themselves and their families. They and their unions are on the front line of the struggle for a social and economic justice. Their fight is our fight and GMB members can continue our support.

find out more

it For more information, vis t/ ou /ab .uk rg b.o out and gmb-international/ab officer, al on ati ern int contact GMB g ur nb we ou sch bert. 23



Putting the T

from GMB All the news

back in lgbt GMB Shout! launches project to stamp out transphobia

figures are growing,” said Sarah Hurley, GMB London region Shout! organiser at the GMB National Equality Conference. “From 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2011 there have been approximately 816 reported killings of transgender people across 55 different countries.” Shockingly, recent reports indicate that more than three quarters of gay, bisexual and lesbian hate crime victims did not report these incidents to the police, so the real number of attacks could be much higher than the number logged. Life at work is not easy for transgender people either. Many face discrimination and, as an example, a survey conducted in 2000

rk Make it wo

of tively raising awareness GMB Shout! has been ac T the g ttin tly launched Pu trans equality. The recen B GM ll ensure that all Back in LGBT project wi to equipped with the tools are workplace organisers at mb co d ns members an fight for the rights of tra lace. rkp transphobia in their wo

Trans facts

lete lace organisers to comp GMB Shout! asked workp e Th e. lac rkp ness in their wo surveys on trans aware en be ve ha ys tastic as 704 surve response has been fan press. returned at the time of

kit GMB reps’ tool from these

The information surveys has been used to produce a toolkit for GMB reps. The toolkit will be launched on 20 November, International Trans HQ Memorial Day, at GMB il with vig it lel nd followed by a ca and ers mb me trans community s. ive political representat



EQUALITY FOR ALL Discrimination of trans people is still a problem. found just one in four transgender people were allowed to use the toilet of the sex they had transitioned to. This is why GMB workplace organisers will be given the tools they need to protect transgender members.

transgender agenda At the National Equality Conference , GMB Shout! raised motions on trans equality, includin g: • Increasing the knowledge and awareness with all stewards and equality officers so that they are aware of trans rights in the workplace and can challenge employers to implement policy and bes • F ully supporting all trans members in thet practice. workplace and looking to ensure those who wish to take part in their region’s equality networks can do so in the gender they identify as. • T o support campaigns that seek to change the views of countries that consider transgender people mentally ill. • T o support campaigns that are pushing for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to brin g forward the date of the reclassification of transgende r people as not mental ill from 2015.

olvedon get inv r more information

Fo BT email Putting the T Back in LG .uk .co ail otm @h gmbshout B GM the for rch or sea k. Shout! page on Faceboo

iStock x 2


iscrimination is wrong. Violence is wrong. That is why GMB stands up to those who would oppress us, whether at work, in our homes or on our streets. GMB Shout! – the self-organised network of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) GMB members – has launched a campaign calling for an end to attacks on transgender people and offering GMB workplace organisers support in addressing the needs of transgender members. “In the world there are reported to be at least 18.6m transgender people, while here in the UK there are approximately 65,000 people who are transgender and these



UPDATE from GMB All the news

WORDS OF ADVICE Young GMB members convene with regional secretary Tim Roache.

Down with the kids

The GMB Young Members’ Organising Committee put their questions to regional secretary Tim Roache. Best of luck Tim!


he Regional Young Members’ Organising Committee (YMOC) met regional secretary Tim Roache to talk GMB, recruitment and CLASS. See snippets from this lively session below! YMOC: What is your experience of getting young people active in GMB? Tim: I used to be the young members’ officer in Nottingham and I refused to do the traditional union business of meetings from the start. I focused on weekend events and socials as a way of getting young people interested in what we were doing.

YMOC: What is your expectation of us? Tim: I won’t inhibit your activities and you have the region’s full support. I won’t tell you what to do or how to do it but my advice is be vibrant, inclusive and relevant to young people. Set your own agenda.

“We need to focus on getting young people active.”

YMOC: Should our role be to recruit new people to GMB or to motivate existing members to get active? Tim: Focus on getting young people active at this stage. Once members are active, other young people will see what’s happening and will want to get involved.

Tim: What are your plans to get more young people involved? YMOC: We need to do things that haven’t been done before. We have two routes. The first is for those of us who are already active to ensure our input into the larger trade union picture. The second is to really listen and ask young people what they want from GMB. YMOC: You are the Chair of the TUC Yorkshire & Humber Region and also the President of CLASS. What can we do to get involved? Tim: Continue your involvement with the TUC Forums to ensure GMB has a voice. CLASS had a conference on 2 November and it would be great for more young people to get involved.

Festival Fever

Young GMB members catch festival fever at Glastonbury and Leeds Every year, the GMB young members’ section sends a team of volunteers to work the bars at some of the country’s biggest music festivals. This year, the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region sent a team of six volunteers to Glastonbury and the biggest ever team of 20 volunteers to Leeds Festival. All this year’s volunteers reported that they had an amazing time and are eager to do it again next year. Volunteers work several shifts during the festival but all spare time

is their own to enjoy and meals and drinks are provided. They work hard and play harder! The Workers’ Beer Company pays an hourly rate to GMB for each volunteer, which enables the young members’ section to campaign on issues relevant to them. If you’re interested in volunteering to help the young members’ section at festivals next year, please email with your details so we can start allocating volunteer spots.

FESTIVAL FRENZY Young GMB members work hard and play hard!

ED ng VOLV GETuldIN you olv like to get inv ed with

If you wo as or suggestions for members or have any ide al young members’ ion reg the us, please email officer rachel.harrison@ ebook page. Fac our on us ow foll can You ire and North Just look for GMB Yorksh . ers mb Me ng Derbyshire You 25



from GMB All the news

THE PRICE OF JUSTICE GMB has safeguarded members’ rights.

Coalition blocks


Regional legal officer Bill Innes explains the new employment tribunal fees and how GMB has safeguarded members’ rights GMB members will not be priced out of justice Unlike non-union employees, GMB members do not pay for legal representation in GMB supported ET cases. Also the new ET fees are covered by the region’s Employment Tribunal Fee Assistance Scheme for members who do not qualify for a waiver under the Courts and Tribunals Remission System. GMB members with union supported ET cases are simply required to remain within the rules of the union and the GMB Fee Assistance Scheme. That principally involves cooperating with and acting on advice from the legal advisor provided by the union and maintaining full GMB membership.

“It’s a coalition attack on workers’ rights.”


Don’t run out of time There are normally just three calendar months less one day to lodge most ET claims starting from the event that gave rise to the claim. For example, an unfairly dismissed employee whose employment ended on 30 July must lodge a claim by 29 October. It

would be out of time on the 30th! GMB full-time officers are experienced in assessing potential ET claims and advising on time limits. Potential claims must be referred to the region’s legal department by an officer over 28 days before the ET deadline. This ensures sufficient time is available to assess the case, provide legal advice and where the advice is to lodge a claim, prepare and issue it in the tribunal. Before a potential case is referred to the regional legal department members will be given the questionnaire for the Courts and Tribunals Fee Remission Scheme to complete so we know if the fee should be waived in part or whole. Members must also sign the GMB Regional Fee Assistance Scheme application form to ensure their tribunal fees can be paid if they are not eligible for remission which is likely to be in the majority of cases. This means that where potential claims are confirmed as having reasonable prospects of succeeding we have all the information to get the claim issued and deal with the issue fee.

Employment tribunal hearings A further fee has to be paid by claimants for their case to go to a hearing. As long as the case continues to be assessed as having reasonable prospects at the hearing the



mployment tribunal (ET) fees of up to £1,200 for an individual case, introduced on 29 July 2013, is the most fundamental change to the tribunal system since the 1960s when it was established to offer a cost free alternative means of resolving disputes from taking industrial action. ET claims will be rejected if not accompanied by the correct fee payable by claimants unless they qualify for full or part ‘fee remission’ under the Courts and Tribunals Fee Remission System. Few are likely to escape fees as remission only applies to someone on an incomerelated (means tested) benefit or in a sufficiently low income household. Even then claimants have to pay fees if they have certain levels of ‘disposable capital’. For example, employees unfairly dismissed for redundancy may have to pay up to half the ET fees from their redundancy pay irrespective of how low their current income is. ET fees are blatantly intended to price workers out of justice as a key measure in the coalition’s relentless hostility to the rights of working people.

SIGN up for the GMB eNEWSletter AT hearing fee will be covered by the GMB Regional Fee Assistance Scheme if remission is not available. Members must keep their legal advisor informed of changes in financial circumstances that may mean the hearing fee would be waived under the Courts and Tribunals Remission System. Employment tribunals can make an award of the cost of fees against a losing party in the case. We will always apply for the costs of the fees against the losing employer in cases we win in tribunal. Also in cases settled before a hearing we will seek to recover fees as part of the settlement. Fees recovered go back into the fund to use by the region to ensure other members continue to have access to justice.

Type A Claim Issue Fee


Hearing Fee




Type B Claim Issue Fee


Hearing Fee




Problem at work? Contact your

GMB rep or branch. For more inform ation call 0845 337 7777.


TICKETS PLEASE GMB regional secretary Tim Roache (centre), with union members supporting the Austerity Uncovered bus.

all aboard

GMB members back TUC Austerity Bus Earlier this year, GMB members across the region jumped aboard a TUC campaign against austerity. Over a two-week period, a specially customised bus called at more than 80 locations across the UK. The Austerity Uncovered bus travelled to food banks, charities, unemployment centres and voluntary organisations who have had their funding cut. At each stop, members of the public were invited to speak about how austerity had affected them and were

offered the opportunity to send their own message back to the government. The aim was to mobilise opposition to austerity and to promote positive ideas for creating jobs, protecting our NHS, investing in our young people, bringing our high streets back to life and delivering a living wage. GMB members and organisers across the region came out to share their experiences and show their disagreement with austerity.

What does ‘CLASS’ mean to you? A new organisation aims to get to the heart of the issue How do you define ‘class’? Is it a question about how much you earn, the size of your house or your standing at work? A new organisation called CLASS (Centre for Labour and Social Studies) was launched last year by GMB, Unite and the Institute for Employment Relations. Its purpose is to address issues that affect working people and to ultimately persuade politicians that more has to be done to help in these desperate times. Work has already been done on issues that have included pay, housing and equality, security and aspiration

and welfare and democracy. GMB regional secretary Tim Roache is president of the new initiative. Tim said: ‘I’m proud to be associated with an organisation that has at its beating heart the plight of working people. It’s important that CLASS is not London-based and we had a regional launch in Leeds with some fantastic speakers. Most pleasingly of all, it was literally standing room only, showing that there is a real wish for people to get involved.”

get inVOLVED Rachel Yates rachel.yates@classonli 69 25 Tel: 020 7611 Roisin McDermott roisin.mcdermott@ Tel: 020 7611 2502 27



from GMB All the news

GMB members are entitled to free* legal help when they need it most! Here are some members who have recently benefited £4,000 compensation

On the road A GMB member from Halifax received over £3,000 in compensation after being trapped between two cars due to the carelessness of another driver. Darren Fleming, 45, was working under his car’s bonnet when the driver of another parked car started his engine and jumped his vehicle forward into Mr Fleming, causing him to become trapped and crushing his knee.

GMB’s legal service secured £4,000 compensation for a West Yorkshire factory worker after his little finger was crushed in a faulty machine press. Tony Render, 51, received urgent surgical treatment but his finger had been permanently damaged. Mr Render, a GMB member, instructed GMB’s legal team to act on his behalf. They argued that his employers were accountable for the faulty piece of machinery and secured him the full compensation.

In April 2013, significant changes to the law in relation to personal injury claims came into force. Non-GMB members now face legal fees and risk losing up to 25 per cent of their compensation when using high street firms to run their personal injury case. However, GMB’s legal package offers members free* access to specialist lawyers – without the risk of handing back any damages secured after an accident or injury. If you’re involved in an accident and need legal help, call GMB’s legal service on 0808 100 2976.

GMB member Susan Cooney, a sewing machinist working in Garforth, tripped and fell over a clothing rail that her employer had left in the middle of a walkway. Susan suffered pain and bruising to her chest, leg and knee, including a lump on her right shin which lasted for almost a year. GMB’s legal team argued that her employer had breached workplace safety standards and were successful in securing a settlement for compensation.

*Subject to rule

Legal update

All Sewn up

lifted spirits


WORTHY WINNERS Andy Parkes, Colin Hampton and Justine Bark celebrate


MB member Colin Hampton from Chesterfield No 1 branch, along with his colleagues Andy Parkes and Justine Bark from Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centres (DUCW), were the lucky recipients of the Community Spirit Award presented at the Derbyshire Times Pride Awards. Nominated by a public vote, the trio picked up the award on behalf of DUWC because of the help they’ve provided to thousands of people in the area. Congratulations to all involved and keep up the good work!

iStock/Derbyshire Times

GMB member celebrates Community Spirit Award



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Gary Baker pays tribute to dedicated GMB reps

do it!


could never be a rep.” I have heard this so many times, but when a new rep takes up their post they soon realise they can and embrace the challenges with such enthusiasm. As an officer, it’s great to see new reps flourish. Below are just a few of the reps that I have had the pleasure to work with. Veteran Kevin Wailes originally joined the union during the days of closed shops. He’s continued his union membership for over 30 years. Liz Robinson and Mae McGrath have both worked as technicians for British Gas for over 20 years. They joined GMB through their apprenticeships. Julie Scaife joined GMB 15 years ago when she made contact with the union due to some issues at work. Wendy Feather became a rep to help her colleagues who were worried about departmental issues. Adam Barrett is a health and safety rep at Calderdale MBC. He thoroughly enjoys his work and the training GMB has provided to help him carry out his new role has been second to none.

Representing GMB Kevin Wailes, Liz Robinson, Mae McG rath, Julie Scaife, Wendy Feather and Adam Barrett.

Feel the


S38 branch raises funds at charity dinner auction GMB members Nikki Sharpe and Lyn Hancock successfully bid to have dinner with GMB organiser Pete Davies and GMB convenor Steve Wellings. The meal was the fantastic idea of Mel Hobson from GMB Sheffield’s S38 branch, who auctioned the dinner with Pete and Steve to raise funds for Haven House, a domestic abuse refuge in Sheffield. Martyn Wragg, a rep from the same branch, cooked the meal armed only 30

with a microwave and a camping stove set up in GMB’s Sheffield office. He prepared a fabulous three-course meal while Mel and GMB rep Shelagh Carter waited on the tables. Mel said: “We raised £421 for Haven House and when I visited their office to present the cheque they were very grateful to our branch. As branch equality officer, I want to make sure the issue of domestic violence is acted upon.”

Following the highly successful Pontefract Liquorice Festival in July, GMB presented three-year old Callam Gill with family tickets for a Castleford Tigers rugby league game along with some GMB promotional goodies. Callam won the tickets for suggesting the best name for GMB’s new regional mascot, Buzzbee. There were plenty of suggestions made on the day, including ‘GMBee’. But ‘Buzzbee’ was the clear winner. Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary, said: “Our members live in the community and although the GMB organises in workplaces, we also get involved in events such as this. Of the thousands of people who came to visit our stall on the day, a significant number were GMB members who were delighted to see their union taking part in what was a fantastic event.”

Branch News! Looking good!

Bradford Public Services branch is proud to announce its partnership with Baildon Trinity Athletic Football Club after agreeing to sponsor the team shirt. Baildon Trinity Athletic is proud of its origins as one of Bradford’s most famous clubs of the ’60s and ’70s. Speaking to The Pulse, branch secretary, Gary Nesbitt, said: “This is a great way for my branch to promote GMB in the community.”

On the table

York General branch are the proud sponsors of the York and District Table Tennis Association. Clive Warley (right) and Gerry O’Kane (left) from the branch are pictured here with Tim Smith, Chairman of York and District Table Tennis Association at their recent annual presentation evening.

Hole in one!

Barnsley Health Service branch held a charity golf event at Silkstone Golf Club to raise funds for Barnsley Hospice. Branch secretary, Martin Jackson, said: “Our branch often gets involved with charity events to help Barnsley Hospice and Yorkshire Air Ambulance. On this occasion the event raised over £7,000 for the hospice which is a fantastic amount!”


Pontefract Central branch sponsored Bailey Hopkins, the son of GMB rep Paul Hopkins, as he played and beat ex-world champion darts player Dennis (The Menace) Priestley at a charity night held in South Elmsall organised by Helping Hands. He raised £800 which was split between Air Ambulance and Beth’s Angels. Well done Bailey!

Obituaries Peter Farmeary It is with great sadness that The Pulse reports the death of retired GMB legal officer Peter Farmeary. Peter joined GMB in 1957 and became a full time employee in 1975 when he took on the role of regional legal officer. Peter was a great comrade, friend and colleague who will be sadly missed. He was a one-off character the likes of which will never be seen again. He was extremely knowledgeable about employment law and was always happy to assist officers and reps. The region sends its condolences to his wife Sheila and the rest of the family.



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

Regional Secretary: Tim Roache. Grove Hall, 60 College Grove Road, Wakefield WF1 3RN T: 0845 337 7777 F: 01924 887272

GMB brighouse Office Clifton House, Clifton Road, Brighouse HD6 1SL T: 0845 337 7777 F: 01484 721 222

GMB chesterfield Office 34 Glumangate, Chesterfield S40 1TX T: 0845 337 7777 F: 01246 234521

GMB sheffield Office

Thorne House, 188-190 Norfolk Street, Sheffield S1 1SY T: 0845 337 7777 F: 0114 273 9601

GMB york Office

75 Gillygate, York YO31 7EA T: 0845 337 7777 F: 01904 674045


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The Pulse Winter 2013  

GMB magazine for the Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region