(Pictured: GMB and UNISON members march together in Sheffield during N30 pensions strike)
Building on their existing joint work through the TUC and the Labour Party, the unions – whose combined membership totals almost two million – believe their partnership will give a strong new voice to workers, rallying support for an economic plan that will safeguard jobs and vital public services.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is an historic day for both of our unions, and for the two million workers we represent. UNISON and the GMB have always had a strong common agenda, and today we are taking a step closer together.
“Communities the length and breadth of the country are being ripped apart by Tory cuts, while the rich enjoy tax breaks, massive pay rises and bonuses. In the face of this continued attack on working people, it makes absolute sense for us to join forces, and speak with one voice against this mindless austerity agenda which is only dragging the country down.
“We will campaign for the issues that really matter to our shared membership and, when the time is right we will take action together. Independently we are strong, together we will be a force to be reckoned with.”
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “Trade unions are the only constant beacons of opposition to austerity. The destruction of services and jobs under the current government cannot be allowed to continue without serious challenge.
“The latest announcement threatening to throw onto the streets tens of thousands of young people by ending their housing support whilst multi-millionaire backers of Cameron hide behind tax dodges is the final straw in the argument that we are all in this together.
“The two million members of GMB and UNISON and their families are a powerful industrial and political force who refuse to accept a future of unemployment, despair and the destruction of ambition for their children.”