Thousands of people have gathered for a major demonstration in central London to call for a “new deal” for workers and public services.
Union members and campaigners from across the UK have travelled to the capital for the TUC rally, where Jeremy Corbyn and the leaders of the Britain’s main unions are scheduled to speak.
A decade on from the financial crisis, real wages are still worth £24 a week less than they were in 2008 and they are not set to return to pre-crash levels until 2025, according to the TUC.
At that point, real wages in the UK will have been in decline for 17 years, during which time the average worker will have lost out on about £18,500 in real earnings.
Frontline workers including nurses, ambulance crews, postal workers, teachers, civil servants and cleaners will march to call for a higher minimum wage, a ban on zero-hours contracts and more funding for the NHS, education and other public services.
The TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, will say: “UK workers are suffering the worst pay squeeze for two centuries. It’s taking wages longer to recover from this crash than from the great depression and second world war.
“This means families are struggling to get by. Millions of kids are growing up in poverty despite having parents in work. Mums and dads are skipping meals and turning to dodgy lenders to make ends meet.
“That’s why tens of thousands are marching today for a new deal for working people. We need great jobs in every region and nation of the UK, and higher wages for all workers, not just the bosses.”
The march is set to be the biggest demonstration since the last major TUC rally in London four years ago.
Corbyn is expected to say that the Labour party will always “proudly support” working people coming together and organising to transform their workplaces.
He will say: “In government, we will give workers and employees more power at work, by strengthening their rights and freedoms to organise together to improve their lives.”