Issue date
12 Sep 2016

11 September 2016

- Frances O’Grady to challenge Theresa May to keep her social justice pledge by making sure working people do not pay the price of Brexit

- TUC publishes report Taking the temperature of the post-Brexit economy

This morning (Monday), the General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, will set out her priorities for working people, and for Brexit, in a keynote speech to the TUC Congress 2016.

On the need to deal with the types of worker exploitation typified by Sports Direct, and which are becoming more widespread, she will tell delegates:

“Our movement showed the spirit that inspires us in the Sports Direct campaign. After months of Unite’s patient organising, winning public support and using trade union shareholder power, we got a result. An end to zero-hours contracts for retail staff, no more ‘six strikes and out’, and at long last the chance to get agency workers onto permanent contracts. A proper win for workers.

“Of course, it’s not over yet. Sports Direct may be in the spotlight now, but they are not the only ones. There are other big companies that bring shame on our country. So let me give fair warning to any greedy business that treats its workers like animals – we will shine a light on you.

“Run a big brand with a dirty little secret? A warehouse of people paid less than the minimum wage? A fleet of couriers who are slaves to an app? Let me put you on notice.

“There will be no hiding place. We will organise and we will win. Britain’s unions will not rest until every worker gets the fair treatment they deserve.”

On the future for trade unions, she will tell delegates:

“A big challenge facing our movement is how we win back all those people in towns where, when the big factories left, unions went with them.

“I want unions to get back into those communities. To show that we listen, and we’ve learned. That we understand, and we care. That the hopes of people in towns across the UK are our hopes. That we want what they want.

“Now we have to take trade unionism back into those towns. We must win a better deal for communities where too many jobs are rubbish jobs. Jobs done by decent people who work hard and deserve better.

“The watchword of our Campaign Plan is ‘Building Back Stronger’. That’s what we must do. Building a union movement in touch with the everyday lives of working people. Reflecting their concerns, talking their language, and being alongside them in their communities, in their workplaces, and on digital too.”

On the action needed to make sure that working people do not pay the price for Brexit, she will tell delegates that the TUC’s priority is keeping the good jobs that come with being a member of the single market:

“Whether you voted Leave or Remain, now the vote is over our job is to get the best deal possible for working people. We must build a Britain that is successful, prosperous and fair – a Britain of great jobs for everyone.

“Government must be ready to step in and work to keep the advantages we get from membership of the single market – for all of our industries, not just the City. That’s the key to a successful Brexit for working people.”

Alongside Frances O’Grady’s speech, the TUC is today (Monday) publishing a report Taking the temperature of the post-Brexit economy. The report includes new economic analysis, along with the first insights from a new TUC panel of trade union convenors working at major private sector employers that are likely to be affected by Brexit.


- The full text of Frances’s speech to Congress 2016 will be published on the TUC website following its delivery later today.

- The TUC report Taking the temperature of the post-Brexit economy can be found in full at

- The TUC has published new analysis for 2016 revealing the UK’s investment gap with other OECD countries. For more information see

- All TUC press releases can be found at

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews

- Congress 2016 is being held in the Brighton Centre from Sunday 11 September to Wednesday 14 September. The deadline for free accreditation passed on 23 August. Application for accreditation can be made at the Brighton Centre subject to a late processing fee of £75.