Lack of commitment from GMB raises doubts over ‘super union’

Strong doubts have been raised about the formation of a new ‘super union’, with less than eight months to go until its planned launch.

Amicus, the Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&G) and the GMB are due to merge in January 2007, creating a new body with 2.6 million members.

The merged union – with a current working title of ‘New Union’ – aims to keep workers as members for life as they would not have to change unions when changing jobs.

But despite talks between the three unions continuing and proposals being put out to consultation, the GMB maintained that it is not committed to any deal.

“We are not committed to anything, be it a merger or any proposed date,” a GMB spokeswoman told Personnel Today. “A decision on the best way forward will be taken at our congress in June.”

A spokesman for Amicus said the GMB had become distracted with electing a new general-secretary and that could lead to it joining the super union late. But he insisted the new body would be keen for the GMB to join “at some point in the future”.

A membership vote to ratify the merger is likely to take place this October, with the result announced before Christmas. The union would start work in January 2007.

Any merged union is likely to consist of nine industrial sectors – the largest being manufacturing with more than 600,000 members.

Public services would have 500,000, with 250,000 in transport, 220,000 in commercial services, 200,000 in leisure and hospitality, 200,000 in finance, 120,000 in construction, 100,000 in energy and 100,000 in the print and paper industries.

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