The coalition has said it is thinking of getting rid of the May Day holiday and replacing it with a day in October.
They say this is necessary to spread the holidays around the year and would provide a boost to the tourism industry. However, unions are saying that the move is an attack on international Labour Day.
Traditionally, the 1st of May is the day that many countries around the world, such as France and China commemorate the fight for workers’ rights. In Britain, May Day celebrations have existed for centuries, though the holiday was only introduced by Labour in 1978.
The coalitions plan is to move the holiday to October, possibly giving it a new name such as “UK Day” or “Trafalgar Day”.
Tourism Minister John Penrose said “An autumn bank holiday, possibly to be branded as a new ‘UK Day’, would not only help the industry, but also give us all a new focus for celebrating the best of what this country does,”
He also added that any change would be subject to consultation and that any move would not happen until 2013.
However the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said that some Conservative MPs were not keen on changing May Day because of it links with Labour Day, but also because of the historical background.
“A few Tory backwoodsmen have a bee in their bonnet about the May Day bank holiday because of its association with international labour day,” said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.
“In fact, May Day is a traditional British celebration dating back to the fourth century.”