Trade unionism does not stop at international borders and in today's globalised economy it is essential that GMB plays a role on the world stage. The UK is part of the European Union and its economy is interdependent with Europe and beyond. Many GMB members work for multi-national companies with a global reach and strategic parts of the UK's economy are controlled by companies from overseas or owned by foreign capital.
GMB's international work takes many different forms. In common with other trade unions, GMB is affiliated to the TUC which in turn affiliates to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) as well as a number of global union federations representing different sectors. European legislation and regulation are increasingly important and GMB has an office at the heart of the European Union in Brussels.
Solidarity with others is the essence of trade unionism and the maxim that an injury to one is an injury to all is demonstrated by GMB supporting people in struggle around the globe. Sometimes that support comes via participation in campaigning groups such as Cuba Solidarity, Justice for Colombia, Venezuela Solidarity and Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Which campaigns are supported is largely decided at the Union's annual Congress where GMB branches can move motions recommending affiliation. However, GMB is also directly involved with projects and partner organisations abroad, notably in Latin America where there is a long-standing association with trade unions representing workers on tropical fruit plantations, grouped in COLSIBA, which is part of the International Union of Food Workers (IUF).