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Coronation: Think of millions working during celebrations - union

Coronation: Think of millions working during celebrations - union

With the Coronation approaching, there has been a call to "spare a thought" for millions who will have to carry on working through the holiday weekend.
Trade union leader Paul Nowak hailed those in jobs such as shops, transport and hospitality who will be working, as well as emergency services.

"Their labour will allow others to make the most of the celebration," said TUC general secretary Mr Nowak.

About a fifth of workers regularly work on bank holidays, say the trade unions.

The Coronation on Saturday 6 May will be followed by a bank holiday weekend, with many public events planned.

But the Trades Union Congress, the umbrella group for unions, said the Coronation celebrations would depend on millions keeping working, whether in public transport, retail, pubs, restaurants and hotels, as well as those in emergency and health services.

"Their labour will allow others to make the most of the celebration," Mr Nowak told the BBC.

"The fact that so many people work during events like this should pause us to think. We need a national conversation about public holidays in the UK. Everybody should get the chance to enjoy them," he said.

Mr Nowak warned that workers in the UK had fewer public holidays than in many European countries.

Figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggest about a quarter of the workforce now work on Saturdays - and the institute says similar numbers could be working this weekend.

For those working in hospitality it is going to be busier than usual, with pubs allowed longer opening times over the weekend.

UK Hospitality, representing hotels, restaurants and pubs, is expecting a £350m spending boost from the weekend.

Travel website Expedia has reported a spike in interest in visiting London and market research firm Euromonitor International says the Coronation is particularly driving an increase in tourism from the US, expected to rise by about 14% compared with last year.

Also working this weekend will be thousands of police and members of the armed forces, with a major security operation planned and military processions.

Some NHS staff who are not working that day are getting special recognition, with viewing areas provided for about 3,000 health workers on the route of the Coronation procession in London.

And trade union leader Mr Nowak says those celebrating should remember the efforts of those toiling away to make it possible.

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