GMB Founded 125 Years Ago Today

1 Apr 2014

The GMB union was founded 125 years ago on 31st March 1889 by gas workers in east London who fought and won the battle for an eight hour day. As a result of their victory, led by one of the greatest pioneers of the Labour movement, Will Thorne, general unionism spread like wild fire throughout Britain and Ireland and liberated millions from a world of unrelenting toil says GMB.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said “The National Union of Gasworkers & General Labourers was formed on 31st March 1889. For 125 years GMB has organised and represented workers in Britain and Ireland in a wide range of industries and public services. GMB has made a major contribution to the part played by trade unions in a healthy democracy. GMB speaks out on behalf of its members and is fearless in the fight for economic and social justice.

Its first battle in spring 1889 ended with the birth of the 8 hour working day. This set the goal for all working people who until then toiled for 12 hours a day. As a result of their victory general unionism spread like wild fire throughout Britain and Ireland and liberated millions from a world of unrelenting toil. GMB as it is today is the result of mergers and amalgamations of unions throughout the last century but mainly in the last 30 years.

Asked why he had dedicated his life to the labour and trade union movement founder Will Thorne explained, “There is a world of freedom, beauty and equality to gain, where everyone will have an opportunity to express the best that is in them for the benefit of all, making the world a place more to our heart’s desire and the better to dwell in.”  These principles guide GMB today as we honour its founders and their slogan that unity is strength.”