‘Special days’ invented by public relations firms anger unions

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Unions yesterday attacked the growing number of special days, weeks or months inspired by public relations companies, saying they were taking the focus away from serious events.

The criticism, ahead of Workers Memorial Day on Thursday, follows a huge increase in National Days to mark anything from being left-handed to eating sandwiches.

There was even a National Sickie Day in February, dreamt up by the public relations industry, even though there is absolutely no evidence that workers take time off sick on a particular day.

Unions believe there is the opposite problem of workers turning up when they are ill because of the fear of being sacked.

“The sickie day is now reported by some sections of the media as if it was a proper event, which it isn’t,” said one union official. “In fact both sides of industry agree there isn’t a problem with workers taking sickies.”

Charities have launched special days or weeks to raise awareness of illnesses or raise money but the list is growing every year. There is now a special week for coffee, pies, salt awareness, windsurfing, duvets or being nice to nettles.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union said: “The hijacking of the idea of special days to mark significant events and occasions by an army of spin doctors to simply plug their clients’ products is a sick joke.

“Maybe we should have a special Ignore PR Puff Day to remind journalists to swerve the kind of garbage that the PR and ad agencies make a fortune out of inflicting on the rest of us.”

A spokesman for the GMB union said: “National days for this and that are getting ridiculous. We now have a shed load of national days.”