The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called on the UK government to increase the minimum wage to £15 an hour.
The plea comes as many workers have taken industrial action as unions have raised frustrations over declines in real pay and amid rising inflation.
Recently, Sainsbury’s stores across Scotland and Northern Ireland saw disruption as DHL workers were set to strike, having rejected the offer of a pay rise which amounted to a cut in real terms.
Last week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed that workers saw their pay fall behind inflation at a record rate over the three months to June.
Regular pay, excluding bonuses, increased by 4.7% over the quarter but failed to keep up with soaring inflation, which hit 9.4% in June and accelerated to another 40-year high last month.
As a result, the trade union has called on the government to deliver a “plan to strengthen and extend collective bargaining across the economy” to help boost pay for workers.
Proposals include corporate governance reforms and a “life-long learning and skills strategy” designed to address labour shortages.
“Every worker should be able to afford a decent standard of living,” TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said.
“But millions of low-paid workers live wage packet to wage packet, struggling to get by – and they are now being pushed to the brink by eye-watering bills and soaring prices.
“We can’t keep lurching from crisis to crisis. Working families need long-term financial security – that means reversing the destructive trend of standstill wages.”
O’Grady added: “Ministers should introduce fair pay agreements to get pay and productivity rising in low-paid sectors.”
The current minimum wage for workers aged 23 and over is £9.50 – with lower rates for younger employees.