The private sector committee of Congress said that subject to prevailing conditions in their enterprise workers should seek pay rises of between 2.5% and 5%.

Congress said that, where appropriate, unions should also give consideration to the issue of the living wage of €11.50 which is higher than the statutory minimum wage which will be set at €9.10 per hour from January next.

The living wage is the amount needed by workers to provide a decent quality of life.

In its bulletin, the private sector committee of Congress said that average hourly earnings increased by just over 2% from €21.02 to €21.46 in the third quarter of 2015 compared with the same period in the previous year.

“The average weekly paid hours worked were 32.1 in the third quarter of 2015. This was a 0.6% increase on the same period on 2014,” it said.

“Average weekly earnings were €688.80 in the third quarter of 2015. This was a rise of 2.7% from €670.53 a year earlier.”

The bulletin said that average hourly earnings increased in 10 of the 13 main economic sectors in the year to the third quarter of 2015 while average weekly earnings increased in 11 of the 13 main economic sectors.

“The two exceptions were construction and public administration where earnings fell,” the bulletin added.

Read the full bulletin