The Trades Union Congress has hit out at the government after its request to join a business roundtable set for today was rejected

Mark Sands
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TUC general secretary France O'Grady says failure to invite the group is "a backward step" (Source: Getty)

The Trades Union Congress has hit out at the government after a request to attend a business roundtable set for today was rejected.

Business secretary Sajid Javid told the TUC their attendance at the event, at which the government will discuss Brexit fears with groups including the Confederation of British Industry, the Institute of Directors and the British Chambers of Commerce, was “unwarranted”.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: “It is disappointing that the representatives of working people are not part of these talks. At a time when the government should be looking to heal the wounds of a divisive campaign, this is a backward step.

She added: “Excluding the TUC and our member unions from this meeting is not acting in the national interest. Ministers should be working with us to ensure that working people do not pay the price of leaving the European Union.”

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However, a spokeswoman for the department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) noted that Javid would be speaking to the TUC later today.

"Clearly unions have an important role to play in contributing to plans to protect British jobs and ensure Britain remains open for business,” she said.

"The business secretary already has a call scheduled with the TUC's general secretary later today and will continue to liaise with unions on a regular basis moving forward."