St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Bill
The UNISON Scotland Submission
To the consultation by the Enterprise and Culture
Committee of the Scottish Parliament on "St Andrew's Day
Bank Holiday (Scotland) Bill"
This paper constitutes UNISON Scotland's response
to the consultation by Enterprise and Culture Committee of the
Scottish Parliament on the St. Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland)
UNISON is Scotland's largest trade union representing
around 150,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond
to this consultation exercise.
Celebrating St Andrew's Day
UNISON Scotland believes there would be a positive
impact on having a national holiday concentrating on Scotland
as a nation. A day concentrating
on Scotland's past and future would help to galvanise the nation
as seen in the opening ceremony for the new Scottish Parliament
building. This would be beneficial to the tourist industry as
a means of promoting Scotland not only abroad but also at home.
If combined with holding the holiday on either a Friday or Monday
to produce a long weekend, this could encourage Scots to take
short breaks within the country at a time of the year when the
tourist industry is usually quiet.
The STUC already celebrate St Andrew's day with
a march and rally against fascism and racism. By having this day
as a bank holiday it would provide further emphasis to the STUC
In providing employees an extra days holiday this
would help reduce the stress-related illness of working long hours
and could provide a positive benefit to Scottish business.
Creating a new bank holiday
Scotland, along with England and Wales, has the
lowest number of public holidays in the EU with a figure of only
8 whereas the maximum is 15 days and the average is 12 days. Introducing
a new bank holiday helps bring Scotland closer to the EU average.
This would have benefits to employees who already suffer from
some of the longest working hours in Europe.
There may be some opposition from businesses to
establishing this holiday in Scotland either through a complaint
about loss of competitive advantage or through having different
bank holidays than the rest of the UK. However as this would be
a national holiday and the majority of companies in Scotland would
be expected to participate this would limit any fears of a loss
of competitive advantage. Also there are already different bank
holidays across the UK - with Northern Ireland actually having
two more bank holidays than everyone else, so this should not
have a serious impact on the Scottish economy in itself.
As mentioned above there is a positive case to be
made about holding the holiday on the closest Monday or Friday
to St Andrews Day. Not only would there be the benefits to the
tourist industry as mentioned above but a regular fixed date would
be easier for businesses to plan into their working year and would
limit any possible economic problems that such a holiday may impose.
However as a number of existing bank holidays tend
to fall on a Monday there may be a case for holding St Andrew's
Day Bank Holiday on a Friday.