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Business Gwynedd North Wales

Staff-own TV firm makes St David’s Day a bank holiday for workforce

Cwmni Da Caernarfon staff who will be having a day off work for St Davids day. Employee Catrin Jones and her colleagues. Picture Mandy Jones

AN EMPLOYEE-owned TV production company in North Wales is giving all its staff an extra bank holiday on St David’s Day.

Award-winning Cwmni Da, based in Caernarfon, is urging the Welsh Government to press again to make the Welsh patron saint’s day a national holiday for everybody in Wales.

According to the firm’s managing director, Llion Iwan, the idea had the 100 per cent support of all  the 54 people who work there.

The extra day off on March 1 will be over and above the usual holiday allowance.

It’s the latest in a series of initiatives designed to provide support to the workforce at Cwmni Da.

Earlier this year the company revealed it had given a £500 cost of living bonus to each of the staff members.

Policies in relation to maternity, paternity and miscarriages have also been strengthened.

At the same time the amount spent on staff training is being quadrupled.

Llion Iwan said: “As an employee owned company, we’ve been looking at what we can do to support our staff in terms of a work-life balance as well as providing support at different times in people’s lives.

“The first thing we’re doing from this year onwards is that we’re making St David’s Day a paid bank holiday for all our staff. If it falls on a weekend, they will still get a day off either on the preceding Friday or the following Monday.

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“One important message that it sends is that we, as a workforce, can decide what we want to do.

“Clearly, there are financial implications because everybody will in effect be having an extra day’s holiday but we feel it’s important because it’s the day we celebrate our patron saint in Wales.

“It’s also a statement about Wales and our identity as a nation. We are proud to be a Welsh company based in Gwynedd and the idea has had 100 per cent support from everybody who works here.

Cwmni Da Caernarfon staff who will be having a day off work for St Davids day. Picture Mandy Jones

“On the day we’ll all have an out of office reply on our email explaining why were are not available.

“We have bank holidays for coronations and royal celebrations on a UK level, we feel it’s important for Wales to have a bank holiday to celebrate our Welshness.

“Apart from Gwynedd Council, I’m not aware of anybody else doing this at the moment.

“We’re hoping other companies  and organisations will follow suit and declare March 1 as a bank holiday  so we can create momentum and put pressure on the  Welsh and UK Governments to make it an official national holiday.”

Cwmni Da was founded in 1994 and became an Employee Ownership Trust in 2018.

Its output includes hugely popular shows like Noson Lawen, Garddio a Mwy, FFIT Cymru, Bwyd Epic Chris, Canu Gyda Fy Arwr, Gogglebocs Cymru and Deian a Loli.

As well as making programmes for other UK broadcasters like the BBC,Cwmni Da has a strong track record in award-winning international co-productions. 

Llion Iwan added: “Cwmni Da is already a great place to work and we believe the package of benefits we can offer is second to none., as well as fantastic opportunities for career development.

“All of this shows that our priority as a business is to support our staff so that we as a company will ultimately reap the benefits. A happy workforce will always be more committed and ultimately more productive.

“Among our aims is to retain and enhance the skills of the workforce and provide well paid,  high quality jobs in North West Wales which in terms boost the local economy.”