Grassroots Members Bid To Make 'Corrupt' GMB Fit For Purpose Again
The current leadership of the GMB has usurped and maintained control of the union by a cynical misinterpretation and misapplication of the rules governing the general secretary election over the last decade and a half.
However the establishment hold on the GMB, which has been the case for many decades, through what is effectively a bought and paid for bureaucratic elite, has much deeper roots. Controlling a union for such a long period of time involves much more than perpetrating a stitch up of monumental proportions in a series of general secretary elections.
It involves control of the entire union, at almost every level and minimising membership involvement is an essential prerequisite to achieve that.
The bureaucratic degeneration of the GMB over the years and most recently the reign of terror over the last decade and a half has reduced the union to little more than a corrupt institution.
Control and manipulation doesn't just manifest itself at a national level.
Control at a regional level through unelected and, in reality, unaccountable regional secretaries, who have the power to open and close branches, is an essential component part of the stranglehold the bureaucracy has on the union.
In theory the regional secretary is accountable to an elected regional committee, who are in turn theoretically accountable to a regional council.
Very much like the general secretary is supposed to be accountable to the Central Executive Committee, who in turn is supposed to be accountable to an annual congress.
The problem is that the theory doesn't work in practice if those who should be holding the full time apparatus to account are not functioning in their roles for whatever reason.
The Central Executive Committee member, more concerned with the standard of hotel they are staying in and their expenses, tend not to be as diligent as they should be when it comes to criticising those who sign off the expense forms.
There is a particular reluctance to be critical if the said individual is a branch officer who is in receipt of an honorarium.
The ability of their regional secretary to open and close branches puts this at risk if too many awkward questions are raised in the wrong place.
Hence we have the development of a layer of union officials, who are meant to be lay members, many of who, are in effect employees of the union, who are supposed to be holding to account those their wages, top ups and expenses depend on.
Is it any wonder that there has been such a bureaucratic degeneration in the union.
To turn this situation around members need to get involved in the union and the shop stewards movement needs to be reawakened.
The election of stewards who will really represent the interests of the members. Not the type who collude with management and bend at the knee to the full time union officer for an easy life.
The branches and workplace organisations need to be rebuilt. That can only be done by electing self sacrificing branch officers who will not be intimidated or bought.
There needs to be a new breed of full time officers, whose wages are paid by the members subs, who are accountable to the members and who recognise what a privileged position they hold and are motivated by the desire to serve the membership.
Power to open and close branches has to be taken away from unelected regional secretaries who must start being held to account by the membership.
Just like the barely elected General Secretary has to start being held to account by the Central Executive Committee.
It is therefore vital that a rank and file grassroots left organisation is built in the GMB.