SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Gerry McCormack, said his union members will make “no apology” for seeking pay rises which ensure workers and their families standard of living is not eroded by a record high inflation rate which he warned could reach 8.5%. Addressing delegates on the second day of the SIPTU Biennial Delegate Conference in Sligo he also condemned the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar for his call on workers not to seek inflation level pay increases while doing little to resolve the rising cost of living. He said: “Leo Varadkar, instead of trying to lecture us on pay, bring in your people, the business people and ask them to stop taking advantage of the citizens of this country. Do your job and while you're at it, allow workers to have collective bargaining in their employments and we will deal with the issue of pay and inflation. “What we are seeking from the Government is very clear. We want the housing crisis sorted out, which is domestic inflation, with a 14% increase in the cost of housing this year. We also want social welfare payments to increase to assist those dependent on them and the State pension to increase as well.” He added: “What we want for low paid workers is that the Government proceeds with the promise it gave at the last election to increase the national minimum wage to the level of the living wage. That will start to protect people who are on low pay.” McCormack also expressed the support of SIPTU members for the recently sacked P&O Ferries workers. He said: “We support the 800 workers who were sacked under British fire and rehire legislation. Most were RMT members, a union with which SIPTU has long established and close links. We are calling on the workers to be reinstated and the CEO of P&O to resign.” More than 350 delegates are attending the SIPTU Biennial Delegate Conference in the Clayton Hotel in Sligo to debate and discuss motions on improving the lives of workers in Ireland.