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O'Grady slams EU elite bid to outdo far-right

Blaming jobless and migrants 'delivers little'

Europe has lost its appeal to ordinary people as political leaders dodge real issues in a scramble to "outdo extremists," TUC leader Frances O'Grady said yesterday.

Ms O'Grady's shot at the European elite was made in front of an audience of hundreds of workers at the annual congress of Germany's trade union body in Berlin.

The city houses the Bundestag federal parliament from which Chancellor Angela Merkel has planned and imposed harsh austerity policies upon the continent.

Britain's TUC general secretary was clear Ms Merkel's plan had "delivered little in quality jobs, wage rises or living standards."

"Too many politicians are attempting to outdo extremist parties who are quick to blame Europe's problems on the unemployed, disabled or migrant workers," she said.

"Instead, we need practical solutions to the problems working families face, like a return to paying a decent rate for the job to stop wage undercutting."

Ms O'Grady's criticism came after the Star revealed Ukip's latest far-right links yesterday.

A Dudley council election candidate is accused of being a former BNP member and the party's new Boston branch chairwoman was a card-carrying member of the National Front in the 1970s.

Left anti-EU electoral coalition No2EU said it was the latest proof that Nigel Farage's party does not represent working-class people.

Spokesman Brian Denny said: "Ukip right-wing policies do indeed chime exactly with the EU's neo-liberal agenda, for instance Ukip and the EU agree that railways belong in the private sector.

"But what is more worrying is that the EU and the IMF are openly supporting the fascist putsch in Kiev and offering billions in aid in return for mass privatisation."

Ms O'Grady said unions in Britain and Germany must explore joint action to reverse attacks on workers' rights.

She said Britain could import the practice of worker representation on company boards while Britain showed how a minimum wage could be implemented in Germany.

"Workers deserve a bigger say in decision-making at work, higher wages that will stimulate growth, and a more secure future for their children," she said.

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