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GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Region


The Birmingham & West Midlands Regional Equality Forum has pushed equality issues to the top of the agenda wherever possible. The forum has continually promoted equalities at events in the region, including the Hope Not Hate Campaign, Birmingham Gay Pride, Give Racism the Red Card, Young Members’ Football Event and the Women Chainmakers’ Festival amongst many other events.  The REF members ensure that GMB stands out from the crowd and we have our own regional equality banner. As a direct result of all the hard work the REF has done, the region was presented with the President’s Leadership Award at Congress 2010 for the most inspirational region and in 2011 Sharon Harding was awarded with the most inspirational individual.

The awards continue the region’s proud history in the equalities arena. Birmingham and West Midlands was the first Region to form an Equality Forum, and also the first Region to put forward a constitution for it. This means we are now able to elect every two years, and also set out rules and regulations for the forum. Once again, our region has been leading the way.   Like this webpage the forum is continuing to develop all the time and taking on new challenges – a challenge we cherish.

Regional Equality Forum Members

The forum is made up of 16 lay members 6 of which lead on the individual equality strands.  The following is a list of members who were elected in 2010 to sit on the Regional Equality Forum.

Chair and Women’s Seat – Sarah James

Vice Chair and Young Member’s Seat – Kate Meakin

Women’s Seat – Jackie Burnett-Pitt

Young Member’s Seat – Sam Benham

Migrant Worker’s Seat – Wieslawa Stanczyk

Disability Seats – Pauline O’Rourke and Ahmad Bostan

LGBT Seats – Angie Gilraine and Paula Defriez

BME Seats – Yvonne Thomas and Elaine Daley

Retired Members – Margie Clarke and Brian Adams

National Equality Forum lead for the Region – Sarah James

The REF is a regional structure and feeds into the National Equality Forum where each region is entitled to send one elected delegate. The NEF mirrors our forum exactly as it also has the six equality strand lead reps. The NEF host a national conference in March each year and the region is entitled to six delegates who are nominated from our annual conference. Each region is also entitled to input two motions to discuss nationally. See minutes below to find out what happened at this years conference.

Regional Equality Networks

The REF is in the process of establishing regional networks for under represented groups, if you would like to become more involved or find out more about the equality agenda within the GMB then please keep an eye of the networks below for latest information or see the events page to get dates of activities happening near you.

LGBT - SAGA : Sexuality and Gender Association

In contrast to the situation even twenty years ago, the position of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people in Britain has been transformed out of all recognition. However, the problems that remain are substantial and trade unions, which have played a major part in winning the improvements gained in recent years, still have work to do. For further information on how you can get involved please contact Gill Whittaker (see below for details)

BOSS: Birmingham Organised Sisters Society

GMB Birmingham & West Midlands region has fully supported the development of a women’s group to give women a greater voice in how the region and the union moves forward. You don’t need to be delegated by your Branch to take part, just get in touch and come along.

GMB has a long tradition of unionising women workers and fights for equal rights for our female members. As the union have a rapidly increasing female membership it is right that we champion the work women do in the workplace.

Young Members Network – YOUF : Young Organised United Fighters

The future of the union depends on today's young members. The GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Region has a Young Members Committee aimed at encouraging members 27 and under to get involved in the world of work. For more information please see Young Members page.

Women Members

GMB women members make up over half of the regions membership, but yet still earn less than men and face sex discrimination on a day to day basis. We need women to participate fully in the union to achieve our goal of promoting equality at work. Training is being introduced specifically aimed at women members of the union.


For more information please see Race Page for more information.

Disabled Members

Disabled members face discrimination every day, not allowing them to be involved fully in the world of work. They face problems every day just getting to work, facing prejudice when they get there, even finding a job, the list is endless. The GMB is here to help by campaigning to help on issues such as inaccessible workplaces. To find out more and how you can get involved please go to the Disabled Members page.

Retired Members

You don't have to give up work because you have retired from work. The GMB Retired Members Association (RMA) is just for retired members who want to continue their GMB work. For a one-off £40 payment you can become a life member of GMB RMA and join thousands of other GMB members who have lots of spare time to organise and be involved in GMB campaigns and activities. Please see Retired Members page for more information.

Migrant Workers

Migrant Workers make up a big part of the UK's workforce, but are being exploited day in day out due to language barriers and the little knowledge of their rights. We want to encourage migrant workers to become more active within GMB to make sure they are represented in the world of work. For more information please see Migrant Workers page.

For further information on any of the above forums please contact Rebecca Mitchell Regional Equalities Officer on 0121 550 4888 or email rebecca.mitchell@gmb.org.uk

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