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A new sense of purpose

Congress 23 changed the rules of the Union, most importantly updating its aims and objectives. Gary Smith, the General Secretary has written to Regional Secretaries saying,

Words have power. They inspire, guide, and will us to win.

The words contained in our Rulebook are not dry or idle. They are fundamental to our way of working and growing our union; our way of looking at the world and of treating each other with decency and respect.

I am delighted to report that at GMB Congress in Brighton, our delegates passed a CEC Special Report that breathes new life into our Rulebook, connecting us with a vision of the way ahead and a clear statement of our values, purpose and vision that is fit for the world we live in today. 

This is a much-needed moment for our union. Our Rulebook had become tired and outdated, overlaid with the language of partnership not fit for purpose in a rapidly changing world.We had lostthe sense of fire and fight that had forged our union amid the furnaces of Beckton in 1889.

This was why we launched a consultation with GMB office holders at the end of last yeartoassess our members’ priorities and views about our Rules; and why our President, Vice President and I toured the Regions and Nations. 

The message came back loud and clear – members wanted their industrial voices to be amplified and embodied in the core purpose of our union.

The Congress decision is both bold and impressive.Our Purpose and Vision, and the Aims and Objectives of the Union have been updated, placing organising and campaigning at the forefront of our agenda and our duty to the members. We have strengthened our commitment to the Equalities Strands, to the fight against racism and discrimination in all their pernicious forms; andto Internationalism: recognising that an injury to one, is an injury to all. We have pledged ourselves todeliver economicalongside purely politicaldemocracy for all our members.

Additional Industrial seats have been added to the CEC, meaning we have maintained the numbers of our executive, offsetting reductions caused by the merging of regions. At the same time, we have sharpened our industrial power and focus on decision making.

Colleagues, these changes are an important step to ensuring our union is at the forefront of struggle and fully equipped to win, and win again, with our members and their families.It reconnects us to our proud, pioneering history, and reconfigures our priorities to create a dynamic, campaigning union.

Our values, just likeour words, are not staid. They need to belived andpossess a transformative power when expressed through collective belief and action. Our newRules help us to accomplish this.

Listening to members and building industrial campaigns is now front and centre of what we do. It’s through campaigning and organising in the workplace that we build upon our industrial power and make work better.

In turn it’s this power that enables us collectively to effect the changes that we desire in order to ensure a world of freedom, beauty and equality, where everyone will have the opportunity to express the best that is within them for the benefit of all.

That is our purpose and guiding vision, and with Congress 2023 we are firmly delivering upon it.

Our Branch President adds,

Congress also took the opportunity to change the aims and objectives of the Union; these changes strengthened the Union’s emphasis on workplace organisation, regulation of terms and conditions, international working class solidarity, the need for a political intervention and the accountability of GMB supported public officials to GMB policy. These are all both welcome and overdue.

Posted: 19th June 2023

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