TUC appoints first woman leader

The TUC has appointed its first woman general secretary.

Frances O’Grady is to take over from Brendan Barber as TUC General Secretary when he retires at the end of the year.

O’Grady, who is the TUC’s current Deputy General Secretary, was the only candidate nominated by unions and will become General Secretary Designate at the 144th Congress in Brighton this September.

She said: “This is a great honour. Never has a strong responsible trade union movement been so needed. With austerity policies biting hard and with no evidence that they are working, people at work need the TUC to speak up for them.

“We must be the advocates of the growth and jobs alternative. And with the policy prescriptions of the last thirty years increasingly discredited, we have the best opportunity in a generation to help build a fair, productive and green economy that works for ordinary people.”

O’Grady, who has two grown-up children whom she raised as a single mum, told The Guardian that she knew the difficulties of balancing work and family life and would bring “some of that perspective” to her new post.

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