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Frances O'Grady quotes
Britain is a textbook case of how growing inequality leads to economic crisis. The years before the crash were marked by a sharp rise in remortgaging and the growth of 0 percent balance transfer credit cards. By 2008 the UK had the highest ratio of household debt to GDP of any major economy.
I worry that some politicians still think we are living in the 1950s where the man is the main breadwinner and the woman works for pin money. Actually, most families where there are two parents depend on two incomes to get by.
The image of the unions is still not in tune with where we actually are, which is fifty-fifty men and women, with an increasing number of women at the top. I think it is changing, but I'm not complacent about this.
All the evidence shows very clearly that if you are a member of a trade union you are likely to get better pay, more equal pay, better health and safety, more chance to get training, more chance to have conditions of work that help if you have caring responsibilities... the list goes on!
As long as the number one worry for people, keeping them up at nights, is whether they're going to have a job in the morning, then they are less likely to resist unfair changes, or unfair treatment, or cuts in real pay at work.
In the U.S. the powerful critics of austerity such as Paul Krugman and Robert Reich rightly identify the decline of 'labor' as a problem, and renewing trade unionism part of the solution. Our opportunity is to make the same case in the UK.
Voting to go on strike is not a decision working people take lightly and is always accompanied by a strong sense of injustice at work. The impact of losing a day's pay is significant, not least for those in the lowest paid jobs who are already on the tightest budgets.