TUC calls for new bank holiday

22-08-2008

TUC calls for new bank holiday
As many as one million businesses in England – nearly a fifth of the total - could benefit from a new bank holiday, according to the TUC.

As a result the trade union body is calling for a 'Community Day' bank holiday in late October to celebrate and encourage volunteering and community activity.

The organisation argues a host of industries – including the retail, hospitality, leisure, tourism and transport – traditionally experience stronger trading days on bank holidays, and are thus set to benefit.

Furthermore, a new bank holiday would encourage consumers to take an increased number of holidays and short-breaks – potentially boosting the economy by some £90 billion in England alone, finds the TUC.

If a tenth of the population of England volunteered on the proposed Community Day, it could add £250 million to the economy, argues the TUC.

Inversely, non-consumer facing sectors – construction, financial, manufacturing and a host of others – will suffer from the loss of productivity.

However, in addition to the revenue benefits of a new bank holiday, the TUC report argues that all employers would benefit from the improved productivity, morale, health and well being that a new bank holiday would give staff across the UK.

While the TUC believes these benefits vastly outweigh the cost of an extra day off work, those who spend the day stuck in traffic trying to reach Bognor Regis may take a different view.

The TUC points out Britain has fewer bank holidays than any other European nations, outside Romania.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "So far, most business lobby groups have stuck to their usual position of opposing anything that benefits staff, including a new bank holiday.

"But we urge these organisations to think outside the box and recognise the benefits a new bank holiday could bring to many of their members."

The TUC hopes a community day would encourage more people to take up volunteering for a day – potentially creating a healthier, happier and more productive workforce.

"We urge businesses, politicians and community groups to join us in our campaign for a new Community Day bank holiday," added Mr Barber.

Other bank holiday ideas include a day off on Remembrance Day, which falls on November 11th each year, and the occasionally mooted Trafalgar Day for October 21st.

However, evidence from Mintel, released yesterday, suggests a third of Brits will simply waste this weekend's bank holiday watching TV, with a further third surfing the net.

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