GMB bows out but super union is still on the cards

Amicus and the Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&G) have vowed to press ahead with the creation of a ‘super union’, despite GMB members rejecting the merger plans last week.

At the union’s annual conference in Blackpool, the GMB voted overwhelmingly against joining forces with its larger comrades. It is thought the decision was partly motivated by fears that the GMB’s regional structure would suffer.

An Amicus source had previously told Personnel Today that rather than opposing the merger, the GMB was “desperate” for it because its membership was based on industry sectors that were gradually producing fewer members. However, Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said the union had no need to merge with any other union for financial reasons.

He told delegates there had been a “massive hunger” for change and success within the union, but added: “It became clear that while there may have been hunger for change, there was not an appetite for this merger. We extend our very best wishes to the T&G and Amicus in their future discussions,” he said.

In a joint statement, the two remaining unions expressed disappointment at the GMB’s decision, but vowed to push ahead and “stand up for equality for all and advance its members’ interests politically”.

The GMB’s decision is likely to prove small comfort to employers, as when Amicus and the T&G do merge, the two unions will be able to boast 1.9 million members.The new union still plans to open for business in January 2007. Amicus and the T&G have not ruled out merging with other unions in the future.

“Such a new union will rapidly become attractive to other unions in this country and will also build ever-stronger links with trade unions around the world,” the joint statement said.

For more on Paul Kenny, click here

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