About the GMB

GMB is a campaigning trade union focused on protecting GMB members in their workplaces and growing the number of GMB members in order to strengthen the Union's power. This website reflects GMB member's aims and values, and shows what GMB Workplace Organisers do every day for GMB members.

GMB is a general union - which means that anyone can join us. GMB has almost 636,000 members working in every part of the economy.

GMB has members in every part of the UK economy doing every type of job imaginable. GMB members are men and women, young and old or even retired, working full and part time, and are made up of a wide and diverse cross section of Britain's society.

Every day of the year GMB offers protection at work and solves problems for GMB members. GMB provide back up, representation and advice on every issue related to members life at work.

This system of support can be provided in a number of ways, often through one of our 25,000 Workplace Organisers: GMB trained individuals who give their time voluntarily to help their workmates.

Backing up the reps are full time GMB Organisers.

GMB employ a team of experts on a range of issues including legal specialists,health and safety experts, pension specialists, human resource management staff and experts on terms and conditions. In fact, if you need advice and support about anything to do with work GMB can help you.

GMB's fundamental approach is that together we can achieve more than we can do on our own.

Whether you're looking for better pay, improved childcare, realistic work-life balance, a change to long working hours, the elimination of poor health and safety or simply a desire for respect from your employer; together our voices are much more powerful than one voice alone.

GMB has been in existence for over 12 decades and has grown to be one of Britain's most powerful and forward looking forces for change. It is made up of a number of unions who have merged over the last 120 years to become GMB - Britain's General Union.

Through peace and war, with and without help from Government, GMB has been winning for our members and protecting people at work. GMB is here for you - to protect you, to represent you and to make a better life for you.


GMB History

GMB began as the Gas Workers and General Union was formed in March 1889 in East London by one of the greatest pioneers of the Labour movement, Will Thorne.

Asked why he had dedicated his life to the labour and trade union movement GMB founder Will Thorne explained, "There is a world of freedom, beauty and equality to gain, where everyone will have an opportunity to express the best that is in them for the benefit of all, making the world a place more to our heart's desire and the better to dwell in." These principles guide GMB today.

The union began as the Gas Workers and General Union was formed in March 1889 in East London by one of the greatest pioneers of the Labour movement, Will Thorne.

"A resolution was passed in favour of a gas workers' union being formed, with the 8 hour day as one of its objects…Sunday morning March 31st 1889- a lovely sunny morning - was the birthday of the National Unionof Gas Workers and General Labourers." Will Thorne founder of GMB.

Its first battle in spring 1889 ended with the birth of the 8 hour working day. This set the goal for all working people who until then toiled for 12 hours a day.

GMB as it is today is the result of mergers and amalgamations of unions throughout the last century but mainly in the last 30 years.

Founder Will Thorne was born in Birmingham in 1857. He lived in great poverty and began his working life in a brickworks at the age of 6.