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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 October, 2004, 23:36 GMT 00:36 UK
Union call for more bank holidays
Extra bank holidays would boost the leisure industry, says the TUC
An extra bank holiday to break the "slog" between the end of summer and Christmas is being campaigned for by TUC as autumn half-term begins.

With 117 days between the August Bank Holiday and Christmas, officials say the UK could afford another day off.

The union is asking the government for three new holidays during the year, to bring the UK in line with Europe.

Europe averages 11 public holidays each year, compared to eight in England and Wales and 10 in Northern Ireland.

Millions of hard-working families would be able to spend a day with their children
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC

Only The Netherlands has fewer than the UK, but Dutch workers have more annual leave.

The union says its poll of 20,000 people found four in 10 put a bank holiday to coincide with the start of the autumn half-term break top of their wish list.

I would like to see fewer bank holidays and more holiday time which provides more flexibility
Carol, Basildon, Essex

Other suggestions included International Women's Day (8 March), Trafalgar Day (21 October) and Armistice Day (11 November).

"If this Monday were a bank holiday, millions of hard-working families would be able to spend a day with their children during half-term without taking extra leave," said Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC.

"Millions of employees could give our leisure and retail industries a boost or take a long weekend away and help our tourism sector. Others could simply be enjoying a well-earned extra lie-in and a very happy Monday."

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