top of page

GMB To Hold General Secretary Election

The General Municipal and Boilermakers Union is to hold a General Secretary election.

After four years in the job, it would appear that Tim Roache, the incumbent, who was elected with the massive backing of 2.4 per cent of GMB members, on a huge 4.4 per cent cent turnout, in the 2015 General Secretary election, has decided that it is time to call it a day.

Either that or he is standing again seeking a bigger mandate.

There is to be a new nomination process for this election. It has been put in place as a result of a legal decision against the union. In 2017, the GMB were found guilty, by an Employment Appeals Tribunal, of having misinterpreted and misapplied their own rules, regulations and guidelines in relation to the the 2015 General Secretary election.

Potential rank and file candidate Keith Henderson was unable to secure enough nominations to get onto the ballot sheet. He was prevented from approaching other branches for nominations after he had been nominated by his own branch to stand in the election.

A potential candidate had to receive 30 branch nominations to be eligible stand in the election. How was he to obtain the other 29 if the contact details of other branches were not made available to him.

As it turned out, three unelected Regional Secretaries and an unelected National Officer did receive enough nominations.They did not appear to have any problems contacting branches and obtaining nominations.

Therefore there were four candidates in the first instance, they were all unelected full time officials of the union. Somehow they had been able to secure enough nominations.

There was no rank and file candidate for ordinary GMB members to vote for.

Two of the candidates, the National Officer, Gary Smith, and the Southern Area Regional Secretary, Paul Maloney, inexplicably dropped out of the race.

That Gary Smith went on to be appointed to the Regional Secretaries job in Scotland, was, no doubt, entirely coincidental.

This left two unelected Regional Secretaries, Paul McCarthy, of the North West region, and Tim Roache of the Yorkshire region.

The result of 15,500 to Tim Roache and 11,500 to Paul McCarthy meant Tim Roache was the winner on a 4.4 per cent turnout of the membership. Twenty seven thousand out of a membership of six hundred thousand had bothered to vote.

Two point four per cent of the membership had got behind Tim.

Under new proposals potential candidates now have an opportunity to contact the returning officer or their Regional Secretary by 1st July indicating their intention to stand. Hustings will then be arranged.

A cynic might argue that this is just superficial gloss and it will still only be the favoured sons, (not daughters), of the GMB bureaucratic establishment who will end up standing.

Others more optimistic, believe that a newly emerging right wing bureaucratic clique may challenge for the position, and stand firm this time.

Others more optimistic still think that a left bureaucrat, singing the praises of Jeremy Corbyn, will stand.

Those wildly optimistic think that a rank and file candidate might stand.

Whatever happens genuine unionism owes a vote of thanks to Keith Henderson for exposing the inadequacy of, and the abuse of the rules regulations and guidelines governing the 2015 election.

It is to be hoped that this progressive step forward wiĺl at least lead to the engagement of more GMB members, although with a 4.4 per cent turnout the bar hasn't been set very high.

Before being to hyper critical of the the 2015 GMB General Secretary election it must be pointed out that holding a General Secretary election at all in the GMB was a progressive step in the right direction.There hadn't been one since 2003.

On another positive note about the 2015 election as opposed to the 2003 one. At least the candidate with the most votes ended up being the General Secretary.

bottom of page