GMB Equalities


GMB Equalities

Welcome to
GMB Equalities

GMB Union is a union for everyone. Find out about our events, conferences, changes to legislation that matter on equalities and useful tools and resources to make equality a reality in your workplace. 

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Why is equality a trade union issue?


GMB members come from all backgrounds and we know that different groups have different challenges in the workplace.

Sometimes people ask why equality is a trade union issue. The answer is simple:

  • Women workers are still lower paid on average than men for doing the same jobs
  • Ethnic minority workers are less likely to get a promotion and more likely to enter disciplinary processes than their white counterparts
  • Young workers are the most likely group to face bullying at work
  • Disabled workers are often ‘performance managed’ out of their jobs or denied reasonable adjustments
  • LGBT+ workers are harassed at work with higher rates of sexual harrasment in particular

Although there is legislation in place to stop employers discriminating against workers if they fall into one of these groups (what the government calls having a ‘protected characteristic’ and GMB calls 'equality strands'), if we had full equality the above problems would not persist. T

That’s why we need to organise around equality - to ensure that whoever our members are, they are treated with respect, afforded the opportunity to progress, and get justice if treated unfairly.


How does GMB help members from different backgrounds?


Equality is at the heart of everything GMB does. We are here to ensure that our members are treated fairly and that the workplaces we organise are inclusive for all.

From representing members who face harassment due to their ethnicity or sexuality to ensuring our disabled members get the reasonable adjustments they need, GMB delivers change for members in the workplace.

Each of our branches has a position for an equality officer, who helps advise members on equality issues and helps them organise their workplace on the issues that are most important to them. They can help you address a workplace problem. We also have Regional Equality Officers who support regional Self-Organised Groups to campaign on what matters to them at work. Our National Equality Department co-ordinates campaigns and events across regions and develops new policies to help members in the workplace.

Whether you want support for an individual issue at work, or you want to get the law changed to help a disadvantaged group, there will be someone in GMB who can help you forward your aims.


Want to get involved with GMB Equality?

Keep an eye on our events page for a diverse programme of inspiring and informative national equality and inclusion events throughout the year.

Contact your local Regional Equality Officer for details of local events, campaigns and to get involved with regional Self-Organised Groups. 

Birmingham & West Midlands Cerys Way - cerys.way@gmb.org.uk   

London Hilda Tavolara - hilda.tavolara@gmb.org.uk

Midlands & East Coast Tyehimba Nosakhere - tyehimba.nosakhere@gmb.org.uk

Northern Julie Wynn - julie.wynn@gmb.org.uk

North West Lisa Ryan - lisa.ryan@gmb.org.uk

Scotland Sandie Rowlands - sandie.rowlands@gmb.org.uk

Southern Michelle Gordon - michelle.gordon@gmb.org.uk

South West & Wales Marie McDonald - marie.mcdonald@gmb.org.uk

Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Louise Foster-Wilson - louise.foster-wilson@gmb.org.uk


For any other enquires, please contact:

National Office Nell Andrew, National Equality and Inclusion Officer and Eleanor Saunders, National Equality and Inclusion Coordinator - EqualityInclusion@gmb.org.uk


Equality News

National Equality Forum (NEF)


The National Equality Forum (NEF)  is the GMB’s national advisory group on equality and inclusion, made of up to 16 GMB lay equality activists including: 

  • 9 Regional Representatives - who are nominated by their region 
  • 5 National Strand leads - who are elected 
  • A member from the Retired Members Association (RMA) - non-voting role, elected by the RMA 

North West & Irish (NW) Region are also able to nominate one additional representative if NEF representatives from the NW are not Irish and there is no person from Ireland representing any Regional or strand seat.  

All members who sit on the NEF identify within at least one of the equality strands and can be from any GMB industrial section.  



How often do the NEF meet and what do they do? 

The NEF meets 4 times a year and acts as a vital link between equality organising activity regionally, nationally, and across GMB equality strands and self-organised groups. This includes sharing best practice and highlighting trends and concerns on key equality issues. 

Members of the NEF, as well as being active around equality in their own regions, also chair and help organise the national equality conference, strand summits, national women’s conferences and more! This includes supporting delegations and leading national equality workshops. 

The key aims of the NEF are to grow the union through campaigning in workplaces and by playing an important part in delivering practical change for our members through equality focussed policies in the workplace.  

Got a passion for equalities and want to make a difference in your workplace? For more information please contact your regional equality officer.


Self-Organised Groups


All GMB regions have self-organised groups (SOGs) that bring together members from traditionally underrepresented groups or groups that may face additional discrimination or barriers because of their identity.  

This could be around representation, promotion or participation in the workplace and wider participation in society. 



What self-organised groups can I join?

GMB has 5 self-organised groups (SOGs) that meet regionally: 

  • GMB Sisters – Open to all GMB Women members 
  • GMB Race – Open to all Black, Asian and ethnic minority members 
  • GMB Disabled workers – Open to all GMB disabled members 
  • GMB Young Members – Open to all GMB members 30 years old and younger 
  • GMB Shout – Open to all GMB members who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT+) 

GMB Women Workers

GMB Young Workers

GMB LGBT+ Workers

GMB Race

GMB Disabled Workers


Why is it important to have self-organised groups?  

GMB recognises that to truly fight discrimination and prejudice in the workplace and beyond, people who are directly affected by those issues - people who have ‘lived experience’ - must lead and have a voice in our union, at every level.  

SOGs aim to fight discrimination and prejudice in the workplace through regional and national campaigns and activity. 

SOGs provide vital support and an important safe space for members facing issues or barriers in the workplaces, due to their gender, youth, disability, ethnicity or sexuality/gender identity. 


How often do they meet and how do they work? 

Each SOG meets regularly, as agreed locally amongst members. Members decide together, with the support of their Regional Equality Officers, which workplace issues or campaigns they want to focus on. 

It’s also a great way of meeting other members like you in your region and seeing how GMB members can support each other.


GMB SOGs – Winning in the Workplace! 

GMB self-organised groups across GMB:  

  • Create effective workplace policies that support and protect members, leading on successful campaigns including Trans Equality, Hate Crime, Period Dignity and the Menopause  
  • Organise regional equality conferences, training on ‘knowing your rights!’ and strand summits 
  • Send motions to TUC equality conferences and GMB Congress, many of which have become official GMB policy or have been developed into equality toolkits such as the Reasonable Adjustments Disability Passport and Thinking Differently at Work Neurodiversity toolkit  
  • Represent GMB at Prides and anti-fascism demonstrations all over the UK; organise aid for refugees in Calais.  


Are you a GMB member with a passion for equalities and are interested in getting involved? 

For more information on self-organised groups near you please contact your Regional Equality Officer.



Equality News


Smash the Stigma

Menopause in the workplace

Thinking differently at work

Reasonable Adjustment Passport

Domestic Abuse Charter



National Equality Conference 2018

General resources


Domestic abuse charter

GMB/TUC Reasonable Adjustments Passports

Equality News

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