Employers should utilise a rise in the tax free limit for once off voucher payments announced in the recent Budget to provide workers with €1000 to help offset the rising cost of living, according to SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Gerry McCormack. Addressing more than 200 trade unionists gathered in Waterford for the SIPTU Manufacturing Division Biennial Delegate Conference, McCormack, said: “We are calling on employers to take advantage of the additional €500 of tax-free vouchers they can now give in order to alleviate the huge pressures that workers are under.  “We encourage SIPTU shop stewards to push for this method of assisting workers during current wage-agreement negotiations and those taking place in the near term.” In his address, McCormack also called on unions to begin serious consideration of the impact of possible constitutional change in Ireland. He said: “Whatever way we might vote on the issue of one state on the island of Ireland it is up to unions to ensure that the interests of workers are at the centre of any possible new constitutional arrangement.  “The trade union movement has largely absented itself from constitutional issues for more than 100 years. The day that James Connolly was shot was the day the trade union movement lost its influence on constitutional issues in this country. We can’t afford for that to happen again.” Delegates at the conference passed a number of motions including a call for the introduction of fixed penalties on employers where a dismissal is found to be unfair and in support of industrial action in disputes concerning pay which are aimed at combating the cost of living crisis. The SIPTU Manufacturing Division Biennial Delegate Conference is continuing today in the Tower Hotel in Waterford City.