Falkirk Council: Labour want extra holiday for coronation

Falkirk Council’s Labour group say they want to make sure locals get an extra day’s holiday to mark the coronation of King Charles.
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A report going to Falkirk Council’s executive on Tuesday is asking councillors to agree to move the traditional May bank holiday from May 1 to May 8, rather than give staff an additional day off.

The suggestion has been criticised by three trade unions representing council workers. They have told the council that they are unhappy about the prospect of the moving the holiday, which traditionally marks International Workers’ Day around the world.

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According to the council report, the unions want to see an additional day in line with government arrangements.

The coronation of King Charles III, seen here with Camilla, Queen Consort, will take place on May 6The coronation of King Charles III, seen here with Camilla, Queen Consort, will take place on May 6
The coronation of King Charles III, seen here with Camilla, Queen Consort, will take place on May 6

Councillor Euan Stainbank, depute leader of the council’s Labour Group, said his group is firmly behind the trade unions. He said: “We agree that the coronation should be marked with an extra bank holiday. It is an important and rare occasion which merits this recognition.

“However, it should not come at the expense of an equally important bank holiday, recognised around the world as International Workers Day, which celebrates the effort of workers, who are the backbone of our country, and the important role they play at the heart of our society and economy.

“This year in particular, when so many of our workers are involved in struggles to protect themselves and their fellow workers from attacks on their earnings and working conditions, it is vital that we make sure this particular event continues to be marked by a bank holiday.”

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While the Scottish Government has confirmed that there will be an additional bank holiday on Monday, May 8 to recognise the coronation on Saturday, May 6, it will be up to individual councils to make and fund their own arrangements.

A report going to members of Falkirk Council’s executive next Tuesday explains that giving staff an additional day off this year – as they did for last year’s Jubilee – would cost £260,000.

It says that moving the public holiday from May 1 to May 8 “has a minimal impact on cost and service provision” while still allowing the Council to recognise the event.

The report also points out that many council staff were given an extra day’s holiday as part of the recent pay agreement.

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It reads: “Officers are also very aware of the costs of a public holiday and financial position of the Council, and the impact if additional monies are to be found.”

The report also acknowledges that if the proposed changes are agreed, the change to move the May 1 public holiday “may cause some disruption to families and school-based staff who may have already booked holidays based on the published term dates”.

Staff representatives will be consulted to reach an agreement, similar to the approach taken last June for the Platinum Jubilee holiday.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has also confirmed that the examinations that were planned to take place on Monday 8 May 2023, will be re-scheduled to accommodate the holiday.

The proposal will be discussed on Tuesday, January 17 at 10 am.