GMB

Why Brighton bin workers are on strike

A GMB organiser spoke to us on 14 October about the strike by refuse workers in Brighton, who have a long history of standing up for their rights. • Visit picket lines early mornings at Hollingdean Depot, Upper Hollingdean Road, Brighton BN1 7GA. Pickets on Friday 15 October, then off for three days, back on morning Tuesday 19 October. • Donations to GMB Brighton branch, account 42004718, sort code 60-83-01. • Messages of solidarity to mark.turner@brighton-hove.gov.uk. • More from the GMB, including plans to ballot other groups of workers at Brighton's Cityclean, here. This is about a very...

Silence at Labour conference on NHS pay

Trade unions, the Labour left and Labour NHS campaigners failed to raise the issue of NHS pay at Labour Party conference – or, more exactly, did not try. Rank-and-file NHS workers, organised through NHS Workers Say No, Nurses United and other networks as well as their various unions, are focusing on a difficult struggle to get industrial action off the ground. Some of them were invited to speak at various fringe meetings at the conference. But beyond that minimal gesture there was little attempt by unions and Labour activists present at the conference to use it to boost NHS workers’ campaign...

Push for action on NHS pay!

Members of the main health unions have overwhelmingly rejected the government’s 3% NHS pay award. RCN rejected by 91.7% (in Wales 93.9%), Unison by 80%, and GMB by 93%. Unison and GMB included willingness to take industrial action in their informal ballot. These votes show the activist base of the unions is ready to take action. The decisive figure for action, under the anti-trade union laws, was always going to be the turnout. There, the news is not positive. RCN turnout was 25.4% (29.3% in Wales), and Unison, 29%. GMB have not released their turnout figures, presumably meaning they did not...

Support firefighters' Green New Deal motion to Labour conference

The Labour Party’s Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) has sparked outrage by ruling out of order the “Green Jobs Revolution” motion promoted for Labour conference by the Labour for a Green New Deal (LGND) campaign and submitted by at least 21 Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs). They have ruled out 45 submissions in all, including one called "Build Back Fairer" about the pandemic and reconstruction, submitted by Newark and Newcastle East CLPs and promoted by Momentum Internationalists. It advocates taxing the rich to attack inequality and reconstruct society. LGND and others are protesting...

Reject the NHS pay award

The trade union consultations on the NHS pay award are coming to an end. The Unison ballot runs until 10 September, the RCN finishes on 13th, GMB on 17th, and Unite on 24th. The next days and weeks are the last chance for members to vote and for activists to get out and encourage them to reject. The award doesn’t get anywhere near the claims of the unions. All have stated that it is not good enough. RCN, GMB and Unite have recommended rejection. It is likely that all the results will be to reject the deal. It’s obvious to all NHS workers that a lower than inflation pay award of 3% is...

Letter: British Gas outcome still a defeat

The report on the settlement in British Gas in Solidarity 602 was right to acknowledge that the concessions in the new deal are real. However, this is not some last-minute victory, nor even a score-draw, but an outcome that blunts some of the employer’s worst attacks within an overall context that is still very much a defeat for the workers. The new settlement does not return engineers to the terms they were on before new contracts were imposed. British Gas has ultimately succeeded in imposing worse conditions. Hundreds of engineers remain sacked for refusing to accept the new contracts, and...

The case for a critical vote for Gary Smith

Dale Street (Solidarity 601) is right to take issue with the entirely uncritical hagiography to newly-elected GMB union general secretary Gary Smith offered by a group of “GMB comrades” in their article of the previous week (Solidarity 600). Reading the comrades’ paean would give readers the impression that Smith was a radical class fighter, if not quite a revolutionary socialist then very near to one, and someone who has dedicated himself to an unambiguous one-man mission to turn the GMB into a militant, class-struggle union. Smith is exactly what Dale Street has, in previous articles...

New settlement in British Gas

The GMB union’s dispute with British Gas formally ended on 20 July, when the union accepted a new settlement on pay, terms, and conditions. Engineers in GMB had struck for 44 days, but then new contracts were imposed via fire and rehire, with 500 workers leaving the company. The GMB says the company has made concessions on overtime rates, increasing them to “time-and-a-half”, and on unsocial hours payments, as well as agreeing limits on unsocial hours working. The new deal also strengthens the criteria for emergency call-outs, which potentially gives workers greater grounds to refuse being...

GMB: more to the big picture

Solidarity 600 carried a eulogy, by “a group of GMB activists and officers”, for newly elected GMB General Secretary Gary Smith. According to the article: “Dale Street describes Giovanna Holt as the only candidate (in the election contest) with a proven track record of taking on bullying and misogyny in the GMB. Unfortunately, he provides no evidence for this claim, which is a problem as we don’t know of any evidence for it either. So until Dale puts his evidence on the table, we’re just left with an assertion.” The evidence already on the table was the first online hustings in the recent...

Understanding what was at stake in the GMB election

This discussion article has been sent to us by a group of GMB activists and officers who have worked with Workers’ Liberty. Dale Street’s article on the GMB General Secretary election (Solidarity 596) is testament to the author’s outstanding talent for missing the wood for the trees. To paraphrase Eric Morecambe: “He has all the right knowledge, but not necessarily in the right order”. To help Solidarity readers make sense of the GMB election we want to take a step back from the matters Dale focuses on and instead look at the big picture. The first point to grasp, is that for anyone in the GMB...

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