Staff working for Shetland Recreational Trust are to get an extra day’s holiday to coincide with the royal wedding next month, unlike their SIC counterparts.
SRT trustees have unanimously approved the additional day off on Friday 29th April, when Prince William is due to tie the knot with Kate Middleton. The exception will be the main hall at Clickimin, which will remain open with a “skeleton staff” for a folk festival concert that evening.
SRT general manager James Johnston said that while there was no statutory obligation, most local authorities were awarding staff an extra day off. He understood the SIC’s decision was mainly related to the financial impact of such a move, whereas shutting down the trust’s seven rural leisure centres and most of Clickimin would entail “virtually no additional cost”.
Speaking during a trust meeting at Clickimin today, Mr Johnston said the two organisations were difficult to compare because the trust could simply close down for the day, while the SIC would have to continue operating essential services.
While there will be a small amount of lost income from schools’ usage of the centres, Mr Johnston pointed out that the schools service usually builds some flexibility into its timetables for pupils.
Last month trade union Unison accused the SIC of “staff bashing” and poured scorn on officials’ estimate that the council would lose £375,000 a day in productivity. Unison pointed to Edinburgh City Council figures estimating a cost of £250,000, despite that local authority having seven times as many staff as the SIC.
All government and NHS staff are being given an extra holiday, while at least 20 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have agreed to give staff the day off. A report before councillors indicated that several key private employers in Shetland, including BP, NorthLink, Tesco and the Co-op, had indicated it would be “business as usual” for them.