New TUC leader in 'grand alliance' call

 

The new head of the TUC is calling for a “grand alliance” between employers and unions to help reverse falling living standards and tackle the country's jobs crisis.

Frances O'Grady, the first woman to be appointed to the post, said she will work to persuade the Government to change course away from its austerity programme of cuts, in favour of boosting jobs and growth.

The 52-year-old said she was under no illusions about the task, but believed the public was now realising the coalition's policies were wrong.

"There is a growing consensus that the Government needs to change course," she said in an interview with the Press Association.

"We need a new grand alliance between unions and decent businesses, because people are working harder for a worse share of rewards."

Ms O'Grady will help to organise a big anti-austerity demonstration the TUC is organising in October, which some union leaders have predicted will be the biggest protest ever seen on the streets of this country.

"It will be an opportunity to to demonstrate the strength of feeling in the country among unions as well as others such as faith and community groups.

"We have had the biggest squeeze in living standards since the 1920s and workers have been hit by years of pay cuts, while prices are rising.

"Families are under huge pressure, and MPs should realise they will pay a heavy political price at the next election if things continue."

The mother-of-two said another of her priorities will be to help unions recruit new members, using modern methods and making it easier for workers to join, even if they were in part-time jobs.

She doesn't believe unions have an image problem, saying that old, unfair stereotypes were often peddled, even though the movement was diverse, with equal membership between men and women and almost a third of general secretaries being female - a record companies and politics should follow.

Ms O'Grady worked while bringing up her children, and said she understood the need for decent childcare to help women juggle work and home lives.

She has met several Government ministers since the last election, and received a message of congratulations on her appointment from Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

The new TUC leader said she believed she would be just as "tough" as her male predecessors, although with a different style.

"I want a constructive relationship with the Government - but I don't just want access, I want influence."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea