The government says it wants us to celebrate the queen’s diamond jubilee. It even announced an extra public holiday to maximise the chance “the nation” uniting to hold jubilee parties.
But it seems the nation isn’t quite as united as the government likes to pretend.
The extra holiday isn’t statutory. This means that whether workers can take the day off or be paid extra for working depends on individual contracts. And bosses have wasted no time in looking for ways to squeeze workers.
So some 300 abattoir workers in Llangefni have been told that they have to work on bank holiday Tuesday—for no extra cash.
And food giant Vion, which owns a chicken processing plant, says it will only grant workers a day off in lieu. Workers are threatening strikes in response.
The TUC says hundreds of thousands of workers will be forced to work as normal over the jubilee weekend. Bosses refusing to recognise the holidays include Marks & Spencer, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ledwood Mechanical Engineering at Port Talbot steel works.
And the Unite union has denounced more than 100 NHS employers that are treating the Tuesday holiday as a normal working day as “mean-spirited”. It has written to the queen to complain.
Many workers, unsurprisingly, won’t be the least bit excited about the jubilee. They won’t be hanging up bunting or flying the flag.
But that doesn’t mean that rich bosses should get away with stealing their pay and holidays.