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TUC calls for more bank holidays for ‘nation of grafters’

TORY ministers must create four new bank holidays to reward Britain’s nation of grafters, the TUC has demanded.

Its call comes as workers in England and Wales enjoy the last long weekend of the summer.

The union body has condemned comments from Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss that the country’s workforce lacks application, noting Britain has fewer public holidays than other comparable economies. 

The TUC, which also points out that workers here completed £27 billion worth of unpaid overtime in 2021, is urging Downing Street to recognise the issue and “show gratitude for grafters by levelling up our holidays.”

England and Wales usually get eight annual bank holidays, Scotland has nine or 10, depending on the timing of new year celebrations and patron saint days, both well below the European Union average of 12.3 days.

Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland and Cyprus top the table with 15 days each — nearly twice as many as workers in England and Wales get. 

Those in other major economies also benefit from more, with Japan enjoying 16 national days off this year. 

Every worker in Britain should get at least 12, the TUC says, extra public holidays must be reflected in statutory holiday entitlement, and anyone required to work those days should have the right to a pay premium or time off in lieu to ensure no-one misses out.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Some politicians have been calling UK workers lazy — but we work some of the longest hours in Europe and we get the fewest public holidays.

“After today there are no more public holidays until Christmas.

“Instead of insulting workers, let’s show more gratitude to our nation of grafters. It’s time for a national conversation: when should our new holidays be and what might they celebrate?”

Earlier this summer, ministers rejected calls, backed by Labour, for an extra bank holiday to celebrate England’s women’s football team winning Euro 2022, saying the cost to the economy would be considerable.

Such a claimed downside did not deter the government from introducing a one-off public holiday to mark Elizabeth Windsor’s platinum jubilee in June. 

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