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Temporary inflation pressures cannot be allowed to set a benchmark for pay rises, according to an employment relations expert.

Brendan McGinty, Managing Partner at Stratis Consulting, said there was a danger that if pay demands were granted on the basis of an inflation spike, the economy would be in danger of falling into a wage-price spiral.

"We can't allow that to a private sector benchmark for longer term pay rises," he said.

"What we're seeing is a spike in temporary inflation pressure and all the commentators see that as being caused by energy and supply bottlenecks and matters brought about by the nature of the recovery post-Covid."

Those same forecasters, he said, were pointing to inflation settling down by 2023.

Mr McGinty, a former Director at Ibec, described a pay demand of 6% from the Financial Services Union on behalf of banking staff as 'fanciful'.

"That's not going to be delivered once it meets the reality of the negotiating table," he said.

"I'd expect to see a very different outcome," he added.

The FSU said it was seeking the increase in pay to reflect the rising cost of living, but also in light of the banks returning to profit and the return to paying dividends to shareholders.

It's expected that many other industries will follow suit with pay claims.

Brendan McGinty said pay in an inflationary landscape had to be viewed through a long term lens, especially at a time when many smaller businesses are trying to get back on their feet amid the Covid pandemic.

"Next year employers are looking at added costs because of statutory stick pay. Covid has had a massive impact on businesses, including many SMEs that are struggling. And Brexit effects are still being navigated."

He said organisations in the internationally traded sectors that had not been impact by Covid or Brexit were guiding pay rises of between 2 and 2.5%.