Belfast Telegraph

Queen's Speech 'attempted lifeline' for PM instead of help for workers, says TUC

Unions have attacked the Queen's Speech as an "attempted lifeline" for the Prime Minister rather than trying to improve the lives of workers.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The election showed that working people are fed up with an economy that doesn't work for them but the Government still isn't listening.

"The Queen's Speech makes vague promises but says nothing about the changes working people need right now, like banning zero-hours contracts or making gig economy employers treat their workers fairly.

"There isn't anything to end the year-on-year real-terms pay cuts that are hitting brave and dedicated public servants, and pushing nurses into using foodbanks."

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "The nation needed a Queen's Speech that offered hope and the promise of an economy with decent secure jobs and wages that people can live on.

"It was an opportunity for Theresa May and her discredited Government to heed the voice of millions who voted for a change of direction by ditching failing austerity for a brighter future.

"Instead we got a Queen's Speech which, devoid of the contents of the Tories' toxic manifesto, is more an attempted lifeline for Theresa May than offering the meaningful life changes the people of this country need."

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: "If that's what the Prime Minister called a general election for, she's wasted everyone's time.

"We just saw a Queen's Speech that in no way tackles the challenges we face as a country.

"The hypocrisy of proclamations on fair pay when public sector workers are buckling under the weight of year-on-year real terms pay cuts will not be lost on millions of teaching assistants, care workers and NHS staff."

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Ministers are living in a parallel universe. Years of harsh spending cuts have caused huge damage to public services across the country.

"People have had enough of austerity, and want proper investment in schools, hospitals, police forces and local services. Yet there was none of this in the Queen's Speech."

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "This is a flimsy piece of work from a minority Government with no mandate and no ideas.

"The Government have nothing to say about the crisis blighting our privatised and fragmented railways which is there for all to see in the daily chaos on Southern Rail."