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General Secretary's New Year Message

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Tim Roache’s New Year message makes pledge to ‘fight for the many not the few’ in 2017.

GMB General Secretary has vowed to battle age old exploitation lurking in the 21st century workplace.

In his New Year message, Tim Roache promised to lead the union in fighting for the many, rather than the few.

Citing GMB’s landmark legal victory against Uber [1] – which could have repercussions for hundreds of thousands of workers across the UK – he pledged to tackle “centuries old, exploitative working practices inside the most modern of enterprises”.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said:

"In generations to come, 2016 may well be looked back on as a turning point in modern history.

“In the past year, the decades of frustration felt by working people and working class communities has seen a seismic shock to the established political and economic order.

“This time last year, very few people would have predicted Brexit or a Trump presidency.

“For those who still scratch their heads about why we’re leaving the EU, as we head into the New Year, I ask you to think what life would be like if you didn't know what hours you'd get next week, if you knew what your bills would be but not your wage, if you not only had to look after your kids but your ailing parents too because the care system and NHS were stretched to breaking point, if you looked around and wondered how your kids would get a good job or a home of their own.

“Think what life would be like if you saw no prospect of that changing, if you expected things to get worse not better, to always have to struggle.

“In 2016, like decades before, employers worked every loophole they could find to make a few more pence on the bottom line, while hundreds of thousands of people muddled along in permanent insecurity on agency contracts, with no rights as bogus self-employed workers or as a paid up member of zero hours Britain.

“The gig economy – as GMB’s historic victory against Uber this year showed – has become a byword for centuries old, exploitative working practices lurking inside the most modern of enterprises.

“Local government, the care system and our NHS are on their knees. I cannot be clearer, they are in crisis.

“And these are services that each and every one of us who has to work for a living relies on in our daily lives.

“2016 was the year when so many people chose to take a risk and vote for change because – however great that risk - the prospect of business as usual was out of the question.

“2017 must be the year where employers and politicians alike hold their heads up, finally ‘get it’ and listen.

“This last year, people couldn’t have shouted much louder.

“In the coming year, I will lead GMB as we stand shoulder to shoulder with our members and those who need us most.

“Fighting for better, fighting for hope, fighting for a 2017 for the many, not the few. “


Contact: GMB press Office on GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at

[1] GMB found last year that a member working exclusively for Uber received just £5.03 per hour in August after costs and fees were taken into account, significantly below the national minimum wage of £7.20. Lawyers for the drivers also argued that Uber acts unlawfully by frequently deducting sums from drivers’ pay, often without informing the drivers in advance, including when customers make complaints.



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