By a GPMU member
The Graphical Paper and Media Union held its biennial delegate conference last week in Bournemouth. It was totally dominated by a debate on the future of the union in the face of membership loss and impending financial crisis.
Despite a long-running feud between a minority of branches and the head office over a merger with another union the conference voted to clear the way to it. The most likely partners are the TGWU and Amicus.
A group of branches, alarmed that for the first time an amendment proposed ending the GPMU's involvement in the TUC Organising Academy and the employment of dedicated organisers, held a fringe meeting to debate the issue on the Monday night of the conference. The meeting was attended by more than 100 delegates-about half the conference-and heard speeches from Mark Serwotka and branch officers in the GPMU, as well as from lay members and organisers in the audience. The overwhelming majority of those who attended supported the argument that, wherever the GPMU members end up, the need to organise the unorganised must remain a top priority for our industries.
The fight to build an organising union will continue which ever union the GPMU goes into. With the new General Sectary of the TGWU promising to prioritise organising, GPMU members should look to the merger as an opportunity.