11/07/2012 04:46 BST | Updated 11/07/2012 04:57 BST

Frances O'Grady, New TUC Leader, Vows To Exploit Coalition Tensions

Trade unions will deliberately seek to exploit tensions between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the new leader of the TUC has said.

Writing for The Huffington Post on Wednesday, Frances O’Grady said British workers are now suffering the biggest decline in their living standards in generations.

"That means effectively challenging government policies, particularly those that strain the coalition," she adds.

On Tuesday the TUC confirmed that O'Grady would become its first female general secretary when she takes over from Brendan Barber at the end of the year.

In the blog post published today, O'Grady identified areas in which had caused disagreements between Lib Dems and Tories, including the recommendations from venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft on changes to employment law.

She adds: "Each day more coalition MPs in seats outside the South East come out against George Osborne’s regional pay cut plans, and Vince Cable now claims they are dead."

O'Grady's comments, made the morning after David Cameron suffered a embarrassing rebellion by his own MPs over Lib Dem plans to reform the House of Lords, suggest the TUC under her leadership will seek to drive a wedge between the two governing parties.

She writes: "The dominant economic approach of the last thirty years is now on its last legs. Letting the market rip and an indifference to inequality are now seen as important causes of the greatest economic crash since the 1930s.

"There has been a huge growth in vulnerable and insecure employment. Joblessness is not as high as many of us feared, but the number of workers in involuntary part-time employment, casual work or precarious self-employment is at record levels."

"Even before the crash the economy had stopped working for many ordinary people, with wages for the many scraping along the bottom.

"The soar-away super-rich may have driven up the average, but this was cascade-up economics, not the trickle-down we were promised. Semi-permanent austerity threatens even higher levels of inequality, social exclusion and poverty."