A WELSH council will not be giving its staff a day off to mark Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant (St David’s Day) this year – and hit out at UK Government’s “insulting” response to a bank holiday request.
Last year, Cyngor Gwynedd’s council cabinet declared March 1 as a day off, to mark the celebration of Wales’s patron saint.
Then, the holiday polarised local views, with most supportive but some criticising the decision over its impact on council finances.
However this year all Cyngor Gwynedd services will be open, and it will be ‘business as usual’ on Wednesday.
The council leader criticised the fact the Welsh nation has to go “cap in hand” to ask permission from “our masters in London” for the day to be designed a formal bank holiday. The power to grant a bank holiday in Wales lies with UK Government.
In statement a spokesperson said: “Cyngor Gwynedd will not be closed on Saint David’s Day this year and all services will be operating as normal on March 1, 2023. The decision last year to give staff the day off to mark our patron saint’s day was successful and popular.
“However, closing services for the day does come at a cost and given the current difficult financial situation the Council is facing, it has been decided to pause the custom for this year.
“We are currently working together with relevant local trade union colleagues in an attempt to ensure that Cyngor Gwynedd staff who are on local government terms and conditions, are able, within the provisions of the amended national conditions of service which come into force on April 1, 2023, to take the day off on Saint David’s Day, every year from 2024 onwards.”
In a statement Cyngor Gwynedd’s Plaid Cymru leader, Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, said: “You may remember last year we gave our staff a bank holiday to celebrate our national patron saint day, Gŵyl Ddewi, as other nations do. Our action received considerable support from county councils across Wales, from the Welsh Government and even from the Welsh Tories.
“Like many other issues, Wales does not have the right to designate bank holidays and it seems that we are not responsible enough to do so. We must go, cap in hand, to ask permission from our masters in London.
“The response received from Westminster last year was insulting, claiming that it would be too complicated for people working across the border to cope with a Welsh bank holiday and that it would have huge cost implications.
“Westminster is able to grant two special bank holidays to crown the King of England without any consideration of cost. This is yet another example of the insulting and pretentious attitude of our Tory masters in London and the way in which they deal with the people of Wales – with complete lack of respect for our nation.”