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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 February, 2003, 16:50 GMT
Workers given early saint's day
Anglesey Council
Staff at the council will have Friday off
St David's Day will come a day earlier this year for 500 office staff employed by Anglesey County Council.

Workers for the local authority have been given a day's holiday on 1 March every year since 1996.

But this year the Welsh patron saint's day falls on a Saturday, so council chiefs have decided to give employees Friday off instead.

However, although staff at the council offices in Llangefni will be able to celebrate St David's Day, it will be business as usual for the authority's other facilities - including schools, libraries and leisure centres.

Council leader Goronwy Parry said the holiday gave staff who are also parents an opportunity to attend St David's Day events at their children's schools.

Goronwy Parry, council leader
Goronwy Parry backs the day off

"I think we are the only local authority in Wales to give its staff a day off," he added.

"It is important because it shows our uniqueness as a nation.

"Scotland and Ireland have holidays associated with their patron saints, so why shouldn't we have one as well," he said.

But neither of the other two local authorities in the north west - Gwynedd County Council and Snowdonia National Park- will give their workers a day off.

A Gwynedd County Council spokesman said its 6,500 staff could take a day off as part of their allowed holidays on St David's Day.

A spokesman for the national park said none of its 160 staff would be given a day off either, adding that such decisions were in the hands of the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG).

Last November, the UK Government rejected a WAG appeal for 1 March to become a bank holiday in Wales, claiming it would bring extra costs and disruption for firms.

Although my heart thinks it would be nice to support St David's Day, my head says it would erode the competitiveness of our company
John Barbagallo, managing director

It is thought Wales has no chance of having a public holiday on St David's Day unless the idea gets the backing of business bosses.

John Barbagallo is the managing director of Holyhead-based company Anglesey Aluminium, which employs 550 workers.

"Although my heart thinks it would be nice to support St David's Day, my head says it would erode the competitiveness of our company.

"We are a 24-hour a day, 365-day a year operation, so the operation cannot be shut down for one day.

"A large number of the workforce are shift workers, and we maintain bank holidays and provide a generous annual leave for our staff," he added.

St David's Day holiday debate
19 Mar 02 |  Wales

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