Frances O’Grady on insecure work: ‘the heartbreaking bit is they think it’s normal’

The TUC chief has been battling the ‘gig economy’ for 10 years. Now, on the eve of a new campaign to support casual workers, she says ‘we’ve gone backwards’

A decade ago, Frances O’Grady thought she had seen just about the worst conditions possible for workers in 21st-century Britain. As part of a team investigating vulnerable employment, the trades union leader held clandestine meetings in churches with intimidated workers that exposed life at the sharp end of the jobs market.

“We had stories about people working up to their knees in water in white meat factories on zero hours. Pretty shocking stuff,” she recalls.

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