Frances O'Grady was General Secretary of the TUC from 2013 until 2022. Frances presented her resignation in 2022 and Paul Nowak was selected to succeed her in January 2023. As part of the 2022 Special Honours, Frances received a life peerage, sitting for the Labour Party. On 9 December 2022, she was created Baroness O'Grady of Upper Holloway.
Frances has been an active trade unionist and campaigner all her working life. She has been employed in a range of jobs from shop work to the voluntary sector.
Before the TUC, Frances worked for the Transport and General Workers Union where she worked on successful campaigns to stop the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board and for the introduction of a national minimum wage, equal pay for women, and on a range of industrial wage claims.
In 1994, Frances was appointed as TUC Campaigns Officer and ran campaigns for equal rights for part-timers and against low pay. In 1997, she was appointed to head up the New Unionism campaign and launched the TUC's Organising Academy.
As well as driving new recruitment campaigns in call centres, supermarkets and new media, the Academy set out to attract a generation of new 'young guns' into the trade union movement and shift the 'male, pale and stale' stereotype to a profile that better fits a six million plus membership that is now 50:50 men and women.
Frances went on to head up the TUC's organisation department in 1999 and reorganised local bargaining for skills projects into the unified national brand of unionlearn.
As Deputy General Secretary since 2003, Frances led on winning the 2012 Principles of Co-operation Agreement with the Olympic Authorities, guaranteeing on-site minimum standards for local jobs, health and safety and the London living wage. Frances has also led on industrial policy arguing the case for a strategic approach to rebalancing the economy in the wake of the financial crash.
In January 2013, Frances became the General Secretary of the TUC, the first woman ever to hold this post. Fair pay remains a core ambition – she was on the Resolution Foundation's Commission on Living Standards, and has been a member of the Low Pay and the High Pay Commissions. Frances is a strong believer in protecting the public service ethos, opposes privatisation and leads the TUC campaign to save the NHS.
Frances was born in Oxford, has two adult children and lives in North London.
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