Pembrokeshire Council committee rejects St David’s Day holiday motion
Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter
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 so far been been thwarted by Westminster in its plans to make St David’s Day a bank holiday and currently do not have the devolved power to make the decision, unlike Northern 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.
Plaid Cymru councillor Paul Rapi put forward the motion prior to May’s election, but he failed to win reelection.
The motion 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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“up to the Welsh Government to contiue to campaign to have it approved by UK government”….. that statement makes my urine boil!
We want a bank holiday we take a bank holiday!
It’s easy enough to phone in sick
“We” don’t necessarily want a bank holiday. Don’t mistake your own opinions for the views of the entire country.
Agreed, but it does seem more than a bit odd that Westminster is blocking Wales from calling a Bank Holiday on St David’s Day. Perhaps the way forward will be to get Prince Charles on board. He is supposed to be Prince of Wales and will inherit the leadership of the Chruch of Englnd and Wales. So he ought to be the pressure behind the addition of a religious bank holiday.
Personally I am not bothered as retirees don’t get to enjoy bank holidays.
There is no Church OF Wales. It’s the Church in Wales as it was disestablished a century ago. The head of the Church in Wales is the the Bishop of Llandaff, who is also the Archbishop of Wales.
The Senedd does not have the power to legislate in regards to Bank Holidays. But the way to get around this is to legislate St Davids Day as a Public Holiday. The Government of Wales Act 2006 does not reserve Public Holidays as it does Bank Holidays.