SIPTU members across the private sector will seek pay increases to match the rising costs of living and will re-negotiate existing pay deals which fall short of inflation. Following a meeting of the union’s sector organisers, SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Gerry McCormack, said that its members in more than 2,500 companies across Ireland will urgently seek minimum rises in line with the rate of inflation which is expected to reach 8 per cent over the coming weeks and months. “In negotiations with employers across the economy, our members will seek increases that will offset the sharp rise in the costs of living in Ireland. We will also re-renegotiate earlier deals that are no longer sufficient to recompense workers for the increase in inflation,” he said. “We are aware that some businesses may not be able to afford the increases required to meet inflation and do not intend to place them in further financial difficulty with unsustainable pay claims. “However, we have also witnessed gouging over recent months which is unjustified and suggests there are business people who are raising prices above the inflation rate solely to increase profits at the expense of their customers. “The sharp rise in living costs, including energy prices, is largely driven by external factors and is not caused by working people and their families, many of whom are now struggling to pay for their rent, mortgage, fuel and other basic needs. The 14% increase in house prices is creating real hardship and deepening the housing and homeless crisis.”   Gerry McCormack added: We have pressed the Government to increase the €500 limit that employers can give in tax-free vouchers to €1000 and can be paid in lieu of wage increases. “The Government should also raise the minimum wage to the living wage and protect vulnerable citizens on fixed incomes by increasing social welfare and State pension rates.”