The new president of the TUC today called on the government to act against rogue bosses and employers who flout their responsibilities to staff.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public services union Unison, was elected president of the TUC following a meeting of its governing body.
Accepting the position, Mr Prentis said he would work with all unions and agencies to end the continuing ill-treatment of workers in the UK.
He said: "In the coming year I want to work as an ambassador for the TUC and all the unions, in every sector of the UK economy.
"Top of my agenda will be continuing to expose the plight of the thousands of vulnerable workers whose experience of work in the UK is often one of poverty wages, excessive hours and shocking ill-treatment.
"I plan to use the next 12 months to get the government to act against these rogue bosses and to encourage employers to take their responsibilities to their staff seriously."
Yesterday, the government promised to do more to crack down on rogue employers.
Addressing the TUC conference in Brighton, business and enterprise secretary John Hutton called on unions to report abuse and work with the government to "shine a light into the dark corners of the labour market".
Mr Hutton announced the maximum fine for employers not paying the minimum wage will be increased, while unlimited penalties will be levied against agencies exploiting vulnerable staff.
To detect abuse, the government has given additional funding to double the number of inspectors regulating agencies and the unions have also been handed a further £3 million through to help vulnerable workers.
Mr Prentis takes over as president of the TUC from fellow Unison member Alison Shepherd.
He was elected to lead Unison in 2000 and re-elected in 2005. He is also a member of the TUC general council, TUC Executive and Trade Union Labour Party Liaison Committee.
Outside the union movement, Mr Prentis is a director at the Institute of Public Policy Research, visiting fellow at Nuffield College Oxford, president of the Unity Trust Bank and adviser to the Warwick Institute of Governance and Public Management.
He grew up in Leeds and studied history at the University of London before taking a masters in industrial relations at Warwick University.