Tim Roache

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Roache speaking at the 2016 Labour Party Conference Tim Roache, 2016 Labour Party Conference.jpg
Roache speaking at the 2016 Labour Party Conference

Timothy John Roache (born 6 April 1962) is a British trade unionist who served as General Secretary of the GMB union from 2016 to 2020. [1]


Union career

Roache was born on 6 April 1962 and grew up in London, where his father was a shop steward on the docks. In 1979, he began working in the postroom of the GMB, over time being promoted to become a legal officer, then an organiser, and finally in 2007 as the union's Regional Secretary for Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. [2]

In 2009, Roache led a 13-week strike of refuse workers and street cleaners employed by Leeds City Council; this was the longest strike in the GMB's history. [3] He also ran the "End Foul Pay" campaign for football clubs to pay ground staff higher wages. [4]

Roache was elected as General Secretary and Treasurer of the GMB in November 2015, receiving 56.7% of the vote on a turnout of 4.2%, beating the one other candidate, Paul McCarthy. [5] Roache took up the post in 2016. [3] He was re-elected in 2019 with 61% of the vote. [6]

In April 2020 Roache resigned suddenly, on the grounds of ill health, [7] [8] amid reports he had been forced to resign. [9] A GMB statement said Roache's chronic fatigue syndrome illness some years ago had restarted and he resigned following medical advice. [10] After receiving anonymous allegations about Roache's conduct, the union conducted a barrister-led internal inquiry, [11] which concluded that bullying, misogyny, cronyism and sexual harassment were "endemic" within the union. [12]

Other interests

Alongside his role in the GMB, Roache was the chair of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) and also of the Yorkshire and Humber Trades Union Congress. [4] Some reports suggested he was supportive of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party and had criticised the 2015 Labour manifesto drawn up under Ed Miliband, [13] though other reports state he was not an enthusiastic backer, or a critic, of Corbyn. [9] [10] Roache did not back the 2016 challenge to Corbyn's leadership, saying "This is about democracy and respecting the Labour Party’s democratic process. Jeremy has a strong mandate, and it’s hugely disappointing that this is not being respected". [14]

In his spare time, Roache supports Arsenal F.C. and coaches his son's local football team, Kippax Juniors. He is also a father and a husband. [2]

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  1. "Roache, Timothy John". Who's Who 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  2. 1 2 Roache, Tim (12 December 2015). "Leading From The Front" . Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Tim Roache elected new head of GMB". BBC News. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  4. 1 2 "GMB: Campaigner Roache Aims For The Top Job". Morning Star. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  5. Private Eye . London: Pressdram Ltd. 5 August 2016.{{cite magazine}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. "Tim Roache re-elected as GMB general secretary with 61% of vote". LabourList. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  7. Heffer, Greg (28 April 2020). "GMB Union boss Tim Roache quits role due to 'ill health' - less than six months after re-election". Sky News. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  8. Watson, Iain (29 April 2020). "Allegations investigated by GMB union as boss Tim Roache resigns". BBC News Online . Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  9. 1 2 Pickard, Jim (28 April 2020). "GMB chief Tim Roache resigns abruptly" . Financial Times. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  10. 1 2 Rajeev Syal; Heather Stewart (29 April 2020). "GMB union launch inquiry into claims against Tim Roache". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  11. Heffer, Greg (29 April 2020). "GMB Union boss Tim Roache who quit due to ill health now being investigated over his conduct". Sky News. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  12. Jones, Alan (2 September 2020). "GMB union urged to change its culture to end bullying and sexual harassment". Belfast Telegraph. Press Association. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  13. Simons, Ned (29 September 2015). "Union Official Tim Roache Slams 'Bullsh**t' Labour 2015 Manifesto, Tells Mandelson He Isn't Wanted". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  14. Staunton, Denis (27 June 2016). "Brexit: MPs to vote on motion of no confidence in Corbyn". Irish Times. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
Trade union offices
Preceded by General Secretary of the GMB
Succeeded by