Extra bank holiday for St David’s Day Notice of Motion not supported

By Katy Jenkins   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Thursday 23rd June 2022 5:36 pm
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Pembrokeshire council workers will not be getting an extra holiday for St David’s Day any time soon unless it is implemented by Welsh Government.

Politicians in Cardiff have been thwarted by Westminster in its plans to make St David’s Day a Bank Holiday and does not have the devolved power to make the decision, unlike Ireland and Scotland.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s services overview and scrutiny committee discussed a Notice of Motion on making a local Bank Holiday at its meeting on Thursday, June 23 but agreed it should not be adopted.

Clr. Paul Rapi put forward the motion prior to May’s election, when he did not get re-elected, and it states: “Many County Councils in Wales are making St. David’s Day a bank holiday to celebrate the Patron Saint of Wales for their staff. Throughout Wales, schools celebrate the day with Eisteddfods which includes music, dance, poetry and Art.

“We are also privileged to be the custodians of the relics of St. David. I propose that Pembrokeshire County Council have an additional Bank Holiday for our members of staff on the 1st March every year.”

The committee heard from head of HR Cathy Evans about the obstacles to implementing an extra bank holiday, including negotiations with unions that have to be done on a national level for teachers, leading to “inequity” between staff.

There would also be a “cash sum” involved with costs estimated around £250,000 for local government staff in schools, with the jubilee bank holiday allocated by reducing the academic year.

“The NoM refers to “Many County Councils in Wales” however, apart from Gywnedd the approval of one day’s additional leave for March 2022 only was taken by Snowdonia National Park and, Conwy Council on a one year only basis,” adds a report to committee.

Discussions with unions highlighted valid points, said Ms Evans, and the UK is the “poor man of Europe when in terms of statutory holidays” but it was not a simple process to just add another one.

The committee broadly supported the idea of a St David’s Day bank holiday but felt it was up to Welsh Government to continue its campaign to have it approved by UK Government and investing in community celebrations as well as the school events on March 1 be encouraged.

The final decision will be made by full council at a future meeting.

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