TUC calls for more Bank Holidays

Aug 27 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Trade Unions are calling on the British government to introduce three extra public holidays to bring the UK into line with the average across the EU.

An online poll by the TUC found that the most popular choice for a new Bank Holiday Ė chosen by four out of ten - would be a Monday in late October to coincide with school half terms.

Almost a third of the 20,000 people who responded to the survey voted for St George's (23 April), St Andrew's (30 November) or St David's Day (1 March).

One in ten opted for New Year's Eve, while other choices included International Women's Day (8 March), Trafalgar Day (21 October) and Armistice Day (11 November).

Despite protests from employers that additional Bank Holidays would harm the economy, the TUC said that there would be "no impact" on the economy since retail and tourism industries would receive a boost.

"In the past, bosses have wildly exaggerated the costs of introducing more bank holidays, but our calculations suggest that the UK can well afford to bring in extra days," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said.

It also argues that more holidays would reduce in work-related stress, which costs the UK £4.4bn a year.

Earlier this year, a survey by Croner Consulting found that more than eight out of ten HR professionals felt that increasing the number of paid days off would improve employee morale and boost the output of British firms.

UK workers have the shortest holidays and the longest working hours in Europe, with only eight bank holidays a year. In contrast, Italy has 16 bank holidays a year, followed by Iceland with 15 and Spain, which gives its workers 14 days off a year.