The Trades Union Congress meets today for the first day of its annual conference.
Brendan Barber, the organisation's outgoing leader, said the government's spending cut policy is failing "disastrously", adding that they have "no credible growth strategy".
"We need a change of our economic policy," he told the Today programme's John Humphrys and called for "a great national policy which is about growth".
Mr Barber said that strikes do not happen "on the whims of union leaders" but admitted that there could be strikes "in key areas where workers make that choice".
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