TUC boss urges ‘best deal for workers’ in single market warning to Theresa May

Posted On: 
12th September 2016

Theresa May must fight to keep the UK in the single market to get the “best deal for workers”, the leader of Britain’s trade unions has urged.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady
PA Images

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady will today say working people must not pay the price for Brexit.

The Prime Minister last week refused to clarify whether Britain would remain a member of the single market, after she rebuked Brexit Secretary David Davis for saying it was “improbable”.

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Ms O’Grady, appearing at the TUC congress in Brighton, will lay out her stall for retaining access to the trade area.

"Whether you voted Leave or Remain, now the vote is over our job is to get the best deal possible for working people," she will say.

"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."

The union boss will also call for a series of assurances before the Government triggers Article 50: EU citizens living and working in the UK to be guaranteed the right to remain; an all-Ireland agreement on economic and border issues; clarity over what Brexit means; a cross-party negotiating team to head to Brussels; and clarity that workers’ rights will be protected before Article 50 is triggered.

Yesterday Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said a number of trade union members backed Brexit "to give the establishment a kicking".

He also insisted that "out of the EU must not mean out of work” during his speech.


Ms O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, will also pledge to fight worker exploitation after the recent events at Sports Direct.

"Sports Direct may be in the spotlight now, but they are not the only ones," she will say.

"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."