SIPTU has said that the rise in the Living Wage, which provides for a minimal and socially acceptable standard of living, to €12.90 per hour, confirms the urgent need to give workers the right to collective bargaining. Announcing the increase, the Living Wage Technical Group, of which SIPTU is a member, said today (Wednesday, 29th September) that the increase was due to the steep rise in rental costs for working people over recent years. SIPTU researcher, Michael Taft, said: “The increase in the Living Wage to €12.90 per hour reflects the continuing failure of government policy to bring rents under control and to provide employees with the right to bargain collectively. “It is an increase of 60 cent per hour since last year and the biggest single-year increase in the Living Wage since it was first launched in 2014. Since then, the rise in the Living Wage has been entirely due to rent increases. All other living costs remained the in line with the low rate of inflation. In addition to bringing high living costs under control, especially rents, the Government must provide employees with the tools that would allow them to negotiate wages that can move them closer to the Living Wage. This means giving people in the workplace the right to bargain collectively with their employers.  Employers must respect their employees’ wishes to do so, as they do across the EU.” He added: “Collective bargaining is a tool to increase productivity in the workplace and map out the future of key economic sectors. By bringing together the stakeholders in a constructive environment, progress can be made to ensure a prosperous future for companies while raising the wage floor to at least the level of the Living Wage.” SIPTU will be releasing a document on the issue of low pay – ‘Low Pay Republic’ – on 7th October, the World Day for Decent Work.