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97th Congress In Nottingham Marking Union's125 Years

Friday, May 16, 2014

Call Notice: for Forward Planning, News Desk, Political and Industrial Correspondents

97th GMB Congress In Nottingham From Sunday 8th To Thursday 12th June 2014 Will Mark 125 Years Since Union Was Founded In 1889.

500 delegates representing over 626,000 GMB members from all parts of the UK and Ireland and from every sector meet to discuss the industrial, economic and political agenda of the third largest trade union

The 97th GMB Congress, comprising of 500 elected lay members, will meet in Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena, Bolero Square, The Lace Market, Nottingham NG1 1LA from Sunday 8th to Thursday 12th June. The 97th Congress comes back to Nottingham for the first time since the 12th Congress was held there in 1908.

GMB is the direct successor to the Gas Workers & General Union which was formed on 31st March 1889 by Will Thorne. 125 years ago the union spread like wild fire across Britain and Ireland after it liberated gas workers from the unrelenting toil of working twelve hour days for six days a week by winning an eight hour day. This 125th birthday will be marked at the Congress.

Delegates attending GMB Congress are the members who have been elected to represent over 626,000 members from every part of the UK and Ireland and who are employed in every sector of the economy.  Congress is the supreme policy making body in the union.

300 visitors and guests will also attend GMB Congress and are also drawn mainly from GMB organised workplaces around the UK and Ireland.

GMB Congress is open to the media with the necessary credentials. It will be webcast live on the GMB national website at Congress documents are online on GMB website in the area for GMB members only. Journalists attending the Congress will be supplied with all Congress documents on arrival.

  • GMB can supply live feed and recorded highlights to media outlets by arrangement.
  • Journalists who require media credentials should contact Charlotte Gregory, GMB Press Office on or 020 7391 6751.

Among the guest speakers during GMB Congress week are Rachel Reeves MP, Glenis Willmott MEP, Margaret Curran MP, Emma Reynolds MP, Lord Whitty, Senior Labour MP’s address & Q&A.

The day by day draft program is set out below in Notes to Editors and is subject to change.

On Sunday morning Ricky Tomlinson will present the GMB Annual Daniel Dennis H&S Award. Kevin McGuire from the Mirror will host a Q&A with Rachel Reeves MP on Labour’s plans for Welfare Rights.

GMB’s new Legal Service that will look after all the legal needs of members will be launched on Sunday morning.

On Monday morning Rachel Reeves MP will address Congress and then take questions from the floor. A CEC Special Report on Housing will be taken in the afternoon and the funding and constitutional reform of the Labour Party will be also discussed.

At the close of the Monday afternoon session, Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary will give his keynote address to the GMB Congress delegates at around 5:30 pm.

On Monday evening there will be a special social event with Paul Heaton to mark the 125 years of the union.

During Tuesday three section conferences will be held for Public Services, Commercial Services and Manufacturing. See notes to editors for topics for debate and guest speakers. On Tuesday a GMB study into social care charges by local councils will be published.

On Wednesday morning there will be a GMB statement on energy markets and a debate on fracking and a CEC statement on the NHS.

On Thursday a senior Labour Party politician will address Congress and take questions from delegates on Labour’s plan for the 2015 General Election.

There are written reports to Congress on Women in GMB, GMB Branch Structure and GMB Finances, Housing and on the NHS.


Contact: GMB Congress Press Office on 07921 289880 or on 07974 251823 or 020 7391 6755/56.

Notes to Editors:

1          Sessions including section conferences: Sunday 8th June to Thursday 12th June 9.30 am to 12.30 pm then 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm

2          Draft GMB Congress programme is subject to change.


Mary Turner, GMB National President will address Congress and will present the GMB President’s Leadership awards in the afternoon. Other awards include our annual GMB Annual Daniel Dennis Health and Safety Award.

Guest speaker – Glenis Wilmot MEP

Debates – GMB CEC Branch Review Special Report, Union Organisation, Rights at work, GMB Daniel Dennis H&S Award presented by Ricky Tomlinson, Legal services launch, Employment policy, GMB Women’s Project Progress Report, Equality, Racism, Immigration, agency workers, education & training, Justice: Miner’s Strike and Cammel Lairds

Fringe Meetings – Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, GMB Learning, Retention and Growth, GMB H&S Where Are We Now, GMB Building Growing, Organising & Strengthening GMB Through Equality, GMB 12 months Campaign to Save the NHS, GMB The Next Labour manifesto with Jon Cruddas MP, GMB Defined Contributions Pensions.


Guest speakers: Margaret Curran MP Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland , Rachel Reeves MP Address and Q&A, Larry Whitty

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary will address Congress.

Debates – Political: Democracy/Scotland, GMB Political fund ballot, EU food aid & foodbanks, Welfare rights/Benefits bedroom tax, Labour Party funding, youth unemployment and apprenticeships,  Economy, Inequality & Bankers, Bullying and blacklisting, GMB Housing Special Report.

Fringe Events – GMB Political Fund Ballot ‘Why It’s Important’, CLASS – Back to the Future- an 8 hr day and £10 an hour, GMB on Fracking, GMB Digital Campaigning – What is All This Twitter Business Then?, GMB Women Making a Difference, PSC Palestine A Vital Issue for Trade Unionists, GMB involvement in developing quality apprenticeships/traineeship programs, GMB equality through inclusion Young Member building our future today.


Guest speaker: Emma Reynolds MP Shadow Housing Minister, Sue Noyes Chief Executive, East Midlands Ambulance Service, and Roger Edwards, Managing Director, Biffa Municipal Waste.

GMB Section Conferences: There will be debates on cuts in public services,  public sector pay, Establishment of a Maximum National Wage, Funding the Care Sector, Academies School Conversions, Defending School Support Staff, Disclosure & Barring Services Checks, Emergency Response and the Bellwin Scheme, Environment Agency, licencing the security industry, future of skills in energy sector, NEXT and Amazon, coal industry, food processing industry, shipbuilding, Grangemouth, the future of manufacturing and Remploy and other issues. For full list contact GMB press office.

Fringe Events: GMB Public Services Teaching Assistants & School, GMB Commercial Services British Gas Fringe on Energy


Guest speakers: tbc

Debates –Energy, Public ownership, retail, NMW, Living wage, GMB CEC Statement on NHS, Social care, taxation, call charges, pensions, GMB finances and annual accounts. The Congress local gift is in aid of St Mary’s Hospice in Birmingham.

Fringe Events: Show Racism the Red Card, Speak up for Justice, The EU-US Trade Agreement and the Threat to public services, GMB Zero Hours contracts-ZeroTolerance? GMB’s Industrial & Organising Response, GMB Can working conditions in the Care Sector really be improved without increasing costs?, – How to get YOUR message across, GMB Equality through inclusion – Abortion Rights, Uniec Prestige What do the new pensions mean to GMB members/ Debt management.


Guest Speakers Senior Labour Party figure tbc

Debates: TUPE, Zero Hours, terminal illness, Childcare, Gagging & unemployment, child Labour, International, Transport, Justice, Media.

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