JEREMY Corbyn has called for action to end an "epidemic" of low pay and job insecurity in Britain, which he said was damaging the whole of society.

Speaking to the TUC annual conference in Brighton, the Labour leader dismissed a Government promise of flexibility on public sector pay as an attempt to "divide and rule" workers and promised that Labour would scrap wage restraint across the board.

And he accused Theresa May of failing to stand up to employers such as Sports Direct and McDonald's, which have been targeted by unions for their treatment of staff pay and conditions.

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"Modern Britain is marked by growing insecurity at work which undermines and holds back both low-paid workers and the better-paid," said Mr Corbyn.

"This escalating insecurity is not only bad for individual workers and their families... it is also bad for our economy and for our whole society.

"This epidemic of low pay, which is closely tied up with insecurity at work, ruins people's lives, leaving workers and their families locked in poverty.

"It damages the economy, as people have less to spend. It costs us all, because it means more paid in tax credits and housing benefits from the public purse, and it means less tax being paid to fund public services."

Mr Corbyn said the pay gap at fast food chain McDonald's, where the boss earned 1,300 times more than the lowest-paid worker, was "symbolic of the deep inequality and injustice that scars our society".

Last week, when raising the issue at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, he said: "Theresa May couldn't bring herself to utter one word of condemnation of McDonald's or Sports Direct. This from a Prime Minister who tried to rebrand the Conservatives as the workers' party.

"It's essential we work together as a movement, trade unions and the Labour Party as part of local communities, to stamp out low pay and insecurity."

Mr Corbyn accused the Tories of wanting to sacrifice workers’ rights on "the altar of a failing and ever more ruthless form of capitalism".

The Labour leader accused Downing Street of planning to use Brexit to award ministers sweeping powers allowing them to "rip up" workers’ rights without full parliamentary scrutiny.

He claimed the real divide over EU withdrawal was a “Tory Brexit to drive down standards or a Labour version that puts jobs first”.

Mr Corbyn made clear that when Britain left the EU the current free movement rules would end.

"It isn't migrants who drive down wages and conditions, but unscrupulous employers, supported by a Government that slashes rights and protections at work whenever it gets the chance," he said.

In a speech that was regularly interrupted by bursts of applause, the Labour leader promised: “We don’t know how long it will take but this weak and chaotic government will be prised out of Downing Street and we know that the advances made in the General Election in June are a powerful springboard to win the radical Labour Government we want to see.”