An organised workplace is more than just a loose collection of individual members who happen to share the same employer. GMB’s concern must be more than simply recruitment. Our union’s strength comes from building strong workplace organisation with good communication and enough representatives.
Workplace Organising is about being good at recruitment, retention and representation. Our goal is the strongest possible GMB organisation in every workplace where GMB Workplace Organisers are experts at recruiting new members, representing members and keeping members in GMB.
In these workplaces GMB members are in control of the union and set the agenda collectively, speaking with one voice not many. The Workplace Organisers know more than their employer does about who is coming and going and how the workplace is organised.
The GMB@WORK National Organising Strategy and the training we give our Workplace Organisers is built on five policies:
1. The workplace is the building block of GMB
The workplace is where we are best able to protect our members and improve their working conditions. Campaigning, media work, legal work and political work in the union offices and in Whitehall and Westminster are important but they can’t deliver for our members if the union is weak and ineffective in the workplace.
2. Each workplace should be organised as if a ballot for action was due
On the rare occasions when employers don’t listen to GMB and our members want to ballot for industrial action, the union needs to be very highly organised to meet with all the legal requirements. This means we have confirmed our members’ correct addresses, they are fully paid up, regular members meetings are held and regular newsletters are distributed and non-members are being approached to join to support the union. GMB policy is to aim to organise every workplace like this, every day.
3. The employer has different interests than our members
As a union we will sometimes make common cause with an employer to get more funding from government in public services for example. But GMB recognises that on a day to day basis it is the bosses who employ our members who cause most of their problems and that people join us to resolve those problems.
4. It is the process of industrial relations that builds the union not the result
Few people join GMB out of gratitude for a good pay deal in the past or for protecting a colleague from unfair dismissal. Most people join GMB and get active out of fear of what is happening to them today and in hope of what can be achieved through the union tomorrow.
5. People are strongest when they organise themselves
Our members are GMB so they must organise themselves around the problems that they and potential members face wherever they work, be it a factory, care home, school or office. GMB wants its members to control GMB where they work as much as possible and will support this process through the work of full time GMB Organisers, GMB Branches and GMB@Work training.
For information on our GMB courses take a look at our Education department
We also have a wide range of resources for members and GMB representatives alike, these can be accessed on our resources page
If you would like to get involved with Union activites please use the contact form below.