The minimum wage in the UK should rise to £15 an hour "as soon as possible" to help millions of low-paid workers struggling amid the cost of living crisis, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said.
The TUC has said the Government must deliver a “plan to strengthen and extend collective bargaining across the economy” to help boost pay for workers.
The current minimum wage for workers aged 23 and over is £9.50 – with lower rates for younger employees.
Since the minimum wage was introduced, its level as a proportion of the median wage has increased – starting at 47% in 1999 and expected to reach 66% by 2024, although the TUC said that a more ambitious target of 75% is the "logical next step".
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Every worker should be able to afford a decent standard of living.
“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.
“Ministers should introduce fair pay agreements to get pay and productivity rising in low-paid sectors.”
Proposals also include corporate governance reforms and a “life-long learning and skills strategy” designed to address labour shortages.
The government said increasing minimum wage could push unemployment up.
The call for the rise of the minimum wage to £15 an hour comes amid a series of strikes.
Port workers at Felixstowe have already been on strike this week. Postal deliveries are also set to be disrupted due to strikes by Royal Mail workers who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) while journalists at Daily Mirror owner reach will also strike on Friday.
Last week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that workers saw their pay lag 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 rampant inflation, which struck 9.4% in June and accelerated to another 40-year high last month.
UK households are deep into a once in a generation crisis, with inflation reaching 10.1% in July and as the energy price cap forecasted to surge past £5,300 a year in April.
Watch: How to save money on a low income