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Female employees hit hardest by the longest commutes: Isn’t it time to introduce more home and flexi-working to allow people to cut journeys and save money? – TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady

London commuters in station

Frances O’Grady is a UKCES Commissioner and has been an active trade unionist and campaigner all her working life, working for the Transport and General Workers Union before joining the TUC (Trades Union Congress) in 1994 and going on to become its first female General Secretary in 2013. Frances helped to launch the TUC’s Organising Academy, which set out to attract a generation of new ‘young guns’ into the trade union movement and shift the ‘male, pale and stale’ stereotype to a profile that better fits a six million plus membership that is now 50:50 men and women. Frances has two adult children and lives in North London.

Frances O'Grady
Frances O’Grady

The number of commuters spending more than two hours travelling to and from work up by 72% in last decade, says the TUC. The number of commuters spending more than two hours travelling to and from work has increased by 72% over the past 10 years, according to a TUC analysis of official figures published earlier this month. Women employees have borne the brunt of this growth in long commuting, with a 90% per cent rise in those travelling for two hours or more each day and a 131% per cent increase in those travelling three hours or more since 2004.

New breed of ‘extreme’ commuters

It’s bad enough most of us spend an hour a day getting to and from work – but spare a thought for those extreme commuters who travel for more than 10, or even 15, hours a week.

Female commuter in carEmployers need to address the problem that many of their staff are spending an ever-increasing number of hours getting to and from work.

More home and flexi-working needed

More home and flexi-working could easily be introduced to allow people to cut their commutes and save money. This would not only be popular with workers, but fewer, better-spaced journeys would help to beat overcrowding on the roads and railways.



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