TUC boss warns of 'massive growth in under-employment'

  • @robhastings

The number of people taking low-paid, part-time jobs owing to a lack of full-time work is one of Britain's secret crises, the country's leading trade unionist has warned.

Frances O'Grady, the newly appointed general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said the problem of "under-employment" has been masked by good news on falling unemployment and that the country needs "a change of direction".

"The real story is the massive growth in under-employment, people forced into often low-paid, part-time jobs when they want full-time steady ones," she told the BBC.

"We've got a real problem in terms of short-termism in the UK and we need an active industrial strategy, exactly as Lord Heseltine recommended to the Government.

"It means we need real public investment in our transport system, our energy infrastructure system. While the Government did announce another £5bn, that was a net loss of £15bn because it cut investment in our infrastructure system. Those are false economies for the long-term growth of the economy."

Ms O'Grady told i that the dearth of women at the top of British companies can only be addressed by introducing boardroom quotas.

"We need to break down the group-think that is too evident in boardroom decisions," she said.