STUC delegates slammed the coalition's austerity programme as a total failure at the opening session of Congress on Monday.
Georgina Wardrop of STUC youth committee led the economy debate with a motion on youth unemployment and told delegates: "I am 25 years old and I have never had a full-time job. I've worked in part-time jobs, I've been unemployed and underemployed.
"The coalition government's name for this is 'the flexible labour market.' I call it a denial of my right to work."
She said: "I have a first-class honours degree, I am not lazy and I have applied for over 40 jobs. Most employers never even send acknowledgement. Of 50 people in my graduation class I know of only one person who now has a full-time job.
"The reason I am not in a proper job is because George Osborne thinks austerity is the hard medicine we need. But it is not hard for him or those who have just got another tax break."
General secretary Grahame Smith told Congress: "When the coalition took power we said their decision to force rapid austerity on a weak economy was unnecessary and irresponsible.
"They said we are all in this together. We are not and we never were. Their tax measures are a giveaway to the rich and a takeaway from poor.
"They said austerity would cut the deficit - but on current estimates the deficit will be higher in 2014 than when they took office.
"On every measure we were right and they were wrong. On every single measure it is a resounding fail."
Stephen Smellie of South Lanarkshire TUC said: "We need to reach beyond our workplaces and into the community - in our streets, in our churches, our colleges, everywhere people will be suffering from austerity policies.
"We need to agitate, educate and organise - but not in the abstract.
"Putting up posters and shouting loudly is not enough. We need to go out to service users, people in the our streets, who go to our clubs and raise the issues of how the cuts impact on them and their communities."
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