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98th GMB Congress Dublin

Thursday, May 28, 2015

98th GMB Congress In Dublin Citywest Hotel From Sunday 7th To Thursday 11th June 2015

500 delegates representing over 639,000 GMB members from every sector meet to discuss the industrial, economic and political agenda of the third largest trade union in the UK and Ireland.

The 98th GMB Congress with 500 elected lay delegates will be held in the Citywest Hotel, Conference and Event Centre in Dublin from Sunday 7 June to Thursday 11 June 2015.

GMB Congress delegates are members elected to represent over 639,000 members from every part of the UK and Ireland employed in every sector in the economy.  Congress is GMB’s supreme policy making body.

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

GMB is the direct successor to the Gas Workers & General Union formed in London 126 years ago 1889 by Will Thorne. The union spread like wild fire across Britain and Ireland on winning the eight hour day. In 1891 the second largest branch was in Dublin.

GMB Congress is being held in Dublin for the second time. The 2nd Congress in 1891 in Dublin committed to union to secure equal pay for women and elected co-founder Eleanor Marx to the national executive committee.

GMB Congress is open to the media with the necessary credentials. Journalists who require media credentials should contact Charlotte Gregory, GMB Press Office on or 020 7391 6751.

It will be webcast live on the GMB national website at GMB 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.

Among the guests who will address GMB Congress are: Government Business Mimister Gerald Nash TD, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins, ACAS chair Sir Brendan Barber,   Gilberth Bermudez from Costa Rica who leads the Latin American banana workers, and MPs Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh and Liz Kendall who will take part in a hustings as part  of the Labour Party leadership election in the UK.

In Notes to Editors below is set out the day by day draft program covering 243 motions, speakers and events. This is subject to change. Some of the features are as follows:

On Saturday 6th June before Congress opens some GMB delegates with banners will join the Mandate organised Dublin march for Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign and dispute over rosters and pay. The march assembles at Merrion Square at 1pm and marches to Dunnes Stores Head Office on Georges Street, Dublin 2.

On Sunday 7th June Government Business Minister Gerard Nash TD welcomes delegates to Ireland. Mary Turner, Tipperary born GMB National President addresses Congress and  presents the GMB President’s Leadership awards in the afternoon.

On Monday 8th June there will be a GMB CEC statement and a debate and separate fringe meeting on fracking. Sir Brendan Barber chair of ACAS speaks on Employment Rights. President of Ireland Michael D Higgins addresses the Congress. Kathleen Walker Shaw GMB Brussels Officer addresses Congress on EU matters.

On Tuesday 9th June Gilberth Bermudez from Costa Rica leader of the Latin American banana workers addresses Congress.

MPs Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh and Liz Kendall take part in a hustings as part of the Labour Party leadership election in the UK on Tuesday afternoon. Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary delivers his Congress address.

On Wednesday 10th June there will be an address by Richard Moore from the Northern Ireland based Crossfire charity. There will also be an event on demanding Abortion Rights in Ireland.

During the week there will be reports on Women in GMB, GMB Branch Structure, GMB and Health and Safety and on GMB Finances. A GMB Congress gift will be presented to the Kells based Jim Connell Red Flag Society.


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

Notes to Editors:

1          Sessions: Sunday 7th June to Thursday 11th June 9.30 am to 12.30 pm then 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm except 4pm on Sunday.

2          The GMB Congress programme is subject to change.

Fringe Meetings take place at lunch times on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 12:45 and 1:45. Please refer to the Final Agenda & Congress Guide for more information


Welcome from Government Minister Gerard Nash TD. Mary Turner, Tipperary born GMB National President will deliver keynote address.

Debates – motions on union organisation; CEC Special Interim Report on Branches; Mary Turner presents GMB Leadership Award for Equalities; Equalities motions;  CEC Special Interim Report on Women’s Project, Congress Gift to Kells based Jim Connell Red Flag Society.

Fringe meetings –

The Role of Eleanor Marx in Founding GMB in 1889 and her role at the 1891 Dublin Congress with biography author Rachel Holmes; Exploitation of agency workers; and Organising for a better pension.


Guest speakers:  Sir Brendan Barber, Chair of ACAS and former General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland.

Debates – GMB CEC Fracking Statement; Energy Market Motions; Public Ownership, Transport; Political motions;  Young People and organising young workers; Welfare Rights & Services; Housing; Social Policy general motions; rights at work; racism and immigration; Europe and address by GMB European Officer, Kathleen Walker Shaw.

Fringe Events –

The GMB National Women’s Taskforce Interactive Fringe Meeting; Where should Britain get it’s gas from? Campaigning For Our NHS; Where to Now for Trade Unions after the 2015 Election?


Guest speaker: Gilberth Bermudez, COLSIBA, from Costa Rica who leads the Latin American banana and tropical fruit workers.

Debates – motions on international matters; health and safety motions plus annual GMB Annual Daniel Dennis Health and Safety Award; HUSTINGS for Labour Party Leadership; motions on political, Labour Party and general social policy General; Congress address from Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary.

Fringe Events:

Making GMB Learning Sustainable; Health & Safety in Ireland: The current state of play-

boosting regional equality forums through self organisation; Activism and The Next 5 Years: The 2015 General Election to Polling Day 2020.


Guest speakers: Address by Richard Moore leader of Crossfire Charity from Derry.

Debates – motions on agency workers; commercial services section; transport; manufacturing section motions;  union benefits and services; GMB owned law firm UnionLine; Annual accounts and CEC Finance Report and finance & contributions; economic policy; taxation; and education and training.   

Fringe Events:

No to Ryanair healthcare! Demanding Abortion Rights in Ireland; Why We Should Say No to TTIP and Other Trade Deals;  Your Future in your Hand’ – GMB Young Members Network; Your Health, Your Safety; Getting Involved in Labour Parties.


Debates: Social Policy justice motions; public services motions; NHS; mental health; social policy general; pensions and other outstanding business.

Close of Congress with local school choir singing the Red Flag anthem - written in 1889 by Co Meath man Jim Connell to celebrate the winning of the 8 hour day by GMB founder members.





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