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.

GMB is a general union – which means that anyone can join us. GMB has more than 500,000 members working in every part of the economy. One in every 32 people at work in UK is a member of GMB.

GMB has members in every part of the 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 many Workplace Organisers: GMB trained individuals who give their time voluntarily to help their workmates.

Backing up the reps are full time GMB Organisers.

GMB employs 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 has its origins in the Gas Workers and General Union which was formed in 1889 by Will Thorne. The Union’s first campaign on behalf of its members was to end the slavery of 12 and 18 hour shifts, 7 days a week. The fledgling union campaigned for an 8 hour day and six day week and was successful, resulting in the first working time agreement anywhere in the world. After this success, workers flocked to join the new union and by 1911 its members numbered 77,000.

Also in 1889, on Tyneside, the National Amalgamated Union of Labour was formed and organised in the shipbuilding industry.

Together with the Municipal Employees Association and the National Federation of Women Workers, the four unions came together in 1924 to form the National Union of General and Municipal Workers. At that stage there were 359,000 members and although this figure dropped in the 1930s it picked up again in the war and during the years of full employment consensus.