MIL-OSI United Kingdom: New GMB general secretary to be in post by June as four-month race kicks off

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Source: Labour List UK

The new general secretary of Labour-affiliated GMB union is set to be in post by the start of June, with a four-month election now underway to choose a replacement for Tim Roache who quit the role last year.

Roache resigned from the top job at the general trade union, one of Britain’s biggest, in April. London regional secretary Warren Kenny, currently acting general secretary, will not be standing to succeed him.

The trade union’s central executive council (CEC) has now unveiled the timetable for the process following a meeting on Wednesday morning. It will see the result of the internal race announced on June 3rd:

  • February 12th: Deadline for potential nominees to declare intention to seek nominations
  • February 25th: Ratification of potential nominees
  • March 10th to April 7th: GMB branches nominate candidates
  • April 13th: Confirmation of candidature
  • April 26th to May 28th: Hustings period
  • May 12th to June 2nd: Voting by members
  • June 3rd: Result announced

The ratification of potential nominees and confirmation of candidature will be undertaken by the CEC finance and general purposes committee. Prospective candidates must receive 30 branch nominations from at least two different regions.

The election comes after the publication of a report by Karon Monaghan QC, whose independent investigation found GMB to be “institutionally sexist” and described “bullying, misogyny, cronyism and sexual harassment” as “endemic”.

The damning report looked into sexual harassment within the trade union and its handling of such complaints following reports of incidents including assault. It advised that “fundamental change” was needed within the organisation.

The document put forward 27 recommendations and the trade union’s national president Barbara Plant said at the time of its release that GMB would act on these proposals to achieve “transformational change”.

Roache, who was first elected as GMB general secretary in 2015, resigned in April last year after allegations were made against him. He has strongly denied any wrongdoing when asked directly about the claims.

Regional secretary John Phillips initially took up the role of acting general secretary after Roache resigned. He was replaced by Warren Kenny in the temporary position when Phillips retired at the end of December.

GMB is not the only Labour-affiliated union undergoing leadership change. In early January, Christina McAnea won the contest to succeed retired Dave Prentis as general secretary of UNISON, which represents almost 1.3 million members.

Unite will also be choosing a new leader soon. Len McCluskey has served as the general secretary since 2010, being re-elected twice, but his current term is due to end in 2022. He has not said exactly when he will stand down.

Steve Turner has secured the United Left nomination – although rival left candidate Howard Beckett complained about irregularities in the ballot – and Gerard Coyne has confirmed that he will run. Sharon Graham is also standing.

MIL OSI United Kingdom