‘Let’s get our act together!’ –TUC leader O’Grady appeals to the Tories

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TUC leader FRANCIS O'GRADY (in red) marching against pay cuts – she now wants to come together with the Tories

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said yesterday that the jobs market is on ‘red alert’, with thousands of firms set to go ‘over a cliff’ in October when the government’s furlough scheme ends.

Instead of putting forward a policy of occupation and nationalisation to defend all jobs, she proposed to the Tory government that they should take a ‘stake’ in companies set to collapse.

Appearing on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, O’Grady appealed for unity with the Tories saying: ‘This could be as bad as the 1930s if we don’t get our act together and come together.’

She was asked: ‘How worried are you about the jobs picture in the UK as the furlough system in the UK winds down?’

She replied: ‘We’re really worried. The jobs market is on red alert and we’re very clear that the government can’t afford to stand on the sidelines and watch good firms go bust and jobs go to the wall.

‘I think what we’ve seen too often is a sort of pattern of dithering, a PR announcement, rushed last minute consultation, no planning, poor delivery.

‘And instead, what we need is a real laser-like focus on how we protect jobs and firms and keep that demand going in the economy so we can bounce back quicker.’

She added: ‘We don’t want industries going off the cliff edge come October and one thought that we want the government to consider is taking equity stakes in firms.’

Earlier, Labour shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and shadow minister for the Cabinet Office Rachel Reeves accused the government of being ‘asleep at the wheel’ over plans to reopen schools following the coronavirus lockdown.

She said Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was ‘set a test, he has failed it miserably’.

Reeves warned of a ‘generation who are left behind and locked out of future opportunities because of mistakes made during this pandemic’.

She said the current economic picture was ‘incredibly worrying’, adding that the debt, deficit and jobs figures, plus the fall of GDP in March, ‘should give us all huge cause for concern’.

She said: ‘We do need from the Chancellor a budget for jobs, a back-to-work budget in July this year to quickly get on top of this.’