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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"

August 2005


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) Bill.

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 rally.

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.

Which Day?

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.


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For Further Information Please Contact:

Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX

Tel 0845 355 0845 Fax 0141 342 2835

e-mail matt.smith@unison.co.uk

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