Issue date
11 Sep 2017

- O’Grady will say government’s approach to Brexit is like a wish list to Santa
- TUC boss to tell Theresa May to get on with giving public sector workers a pay rise

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady will today (Monday) make her keynote address to Congress in Brighton, where she will say that long-term single market membership is the best option for working people.

On the government’s approach to Brexit, Frances will say:

“The Prime Minister’s top priority should be to defend Britain’s best interests. Not stop the Conservative Party falling apart.

“The clock is ticking and the government still hasn’t come up with a proper plan.

“The Prime Minister is sticking to the same old script that she can get whatever she wants. That we can all have all the same benefits of the single market without playing by the rules.

“This isn’t a grown-up negotiating position. It’s a letter to Santa.

“My challenge all political parties is this: When it comes to Brexit, don’t box yourselves in. Don’t rule anything out. Keep all options on the table. And put jobs, rights and livelihoods first.

“We have set out our tests for the Brexit deal working people need. Staying in the single market and customs union would deliver it.”

On public sector pay restrictions, Frances will say:

“The Prime Minister talks about the “sacrifice” public sector workers have made, as if it were their choice. Public servants weren’t given a say in the matter. They’ve had seven years of pay freezes and pay cuts imposed upon them.

“They have been forced to work harder for less, while the government has lined the pockets of corporate Britain with tax giveaway after tax giveaway.

“On October 17th, public servants will rally on Parliament Square. And send a clear a message to Mrs May: five million hardworking public servants need a pay rise. The public backs it. Now just tell the Treasury to get on with it.”

On the spread of insecure work, Frances will say:

“As the world of work changes, we’re seeing the same old exploitation wearing new clothes. Workers who wait by the phone hoping for work. Just as dockers once waited on the quayside.

“The boss doesn’t even need to go to the bother of sacking you, when he can deactivate you by app. People treated as throwaway workers with throwaway rights.

“But I say this to bad bosses. You’ve seen what this union movement has done in the past few years. Exposing your nasty little schemes to avoid paying the minimum wage, holiday pay or sick pay.

“Our eyes are on you. Trade unionists are standing by your gates. Either you sit at the table with us and work out a better deal for your workers. Or we’ll see you in court. And on the front pages.”


Notes to Editors:
- Frances will address #TUC17 at 11:15am on Monday in the Brighton Centre.