Labour today called on bosses to let their staff finish early to watch tonight’s Euro 2020 showdown.
England play Germany at 5pm at Wembley in a last 16 clash after years of rivalry and heartache.
And the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has urged bosses to slacken the whip – allowing employees to watch the action on company premises.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner today joined the call, tweeting: “Good luck to the @England lads today, the whole country is behind you! Bosses – let your workers finish early to watch the game!”
Her tweet was ‘liked’ by none other than the England football team.
Labour leader Keir Starmer added: “Good luck to England ahead of today’s game against Germany. Staff should be allowed to finish early so they can watch the match.”
Ms Rayner and Keir Starmer’s office staff will be allowed off early to watch the match.
But a Tory minister stopped short of backing Labour’s call.
Schools minister Nick Gibb told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “That’s really a matter for industry and for business.
“I’ll have to be in a debate on the estimates in the House of Commons when the football starts.”
Asked if his own staff at the Department for Education could finish early, he said: “Civil servants have a very demanding job and I’m sure they’ll be able the juggle the demands of being a civil servant with being able to sneak a glimpse at the score.”
No10 said it was up to bosses whether or not they let staff watch tonight’s England-Germany clash.
He added: “Wherever possible we want businesses and employers to make accommodations for people to watch the match if they’re happy to do so.”
Asked if the PM thinks workers should stop at 5pm he said: “It’s for employers and managers – they’re best placed to make those decisions on a case by case basis.”
Keir Starmer will be watching the 5pm Euro 2020 clash at home with family – but Boris Johnson will not take time out of his diary because it clashes with a Pride reception in No10.
The PM “hopes to see as much of the game as possible in between his work commitments”, No10 said.
A Pride reception in the No10 garden overlaps with the match – it will be screened in the garden during the reception to allow attendees to watch.
The PM’s spokesman said: “The nation is behind Gareth Southgate and his squad and sends him the best of luck ahead of this afternoon’s game.”
Ms Rayner told the Mirror: “Today is an absolutely massive day for our country.
“After being apart from our friends and family, so many of us will want to watch the game with our friends and family, whether at home or in the pub.
“So I call on employers and bosses to be flexible and let their staff finish early so they can enjoy the game with their friends and family and the whole nation can get behind the team.
“I know lots of employers will already have done this, which is great news, and my team will certainly be on a three line whip to stop work at kick off.
“Obviously this won’t be possible for lots of key workers and shift workers – the very same people who have kept our country going through this pandemic.
“So I think we all owe them another big thank you today!”
More than one in five UK employees work evenings and weekends, said the TUC.
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General secretary Frances O’Grady – an England and Arsenal supporter – said: “Millions of workers around the UK will want to cheer on their national teams in Euro 2020, especially after the tournament was postponed last year.
“Bosses should talk to their staff and try and let people who want to watch the games do so, either at work or at home and then claim back their time afterwards.
“Whether it’s about major sporting events like Euro 2020, attending a medical appointment or picking up the kids from school, allowing people more flexibility in how and when they do their work makes them happier. It cuts absenteeism and raises productivity.”