Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has led calls for employers to allow workers an early finish on Tuesday ahead of England’s last 16 clash with Germany in the Euros.
Workers’ union organisation the TUC voiced its support for the campaign as local councillors expressed their dismay that scheduled council meetings will clash with the important fixture.
Gareth Southgate’s men are due to take part in the mammoth game at Wembley at 5pm on Tuesday.
Both Mr Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner tweeted their support for the Three Lions and pleaded with bosses to let their employees go early.
“Good luck to England ahead of today’s game against Germany. Staff should be allowed to finish early so they can watch the match,” said Sir Keir.
Calling on the Prime Minister to back the demands, Ms Rayner said: “Today is an absolutely massive day for our country.
“After being apart from our friends and family for so long, many of us will want to watch the game with our loved ones, whether at home or in the pub.
“So we urge the Prime Minister to back Labour’s call to let staff finish early so they can enjoy the game and get behind the England team.
“We know lots of employers will already have done this which is great news, and our staff will certainly be allowed to stop work in time for 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 we think we all owe them another big thank you today.”
The TUC also backed Labour’s calls for the fans to be allowed to enjoy the game, saying employers should talk to their staff and be “flexible” about making the time back.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Millions of workers across the country want to cheer on England in the knockout round – especially after the disappointment of having the tournament postponed last year.
“Bosses should talk to their staff and try to let people who want to watch the game do so, either at work or at home – and then claim back their time afterwards.”
“Come on England and let’s hope it doesn’t go to penalties!”
Elsewhere, councillors voiced concern that local council meetings scheduled for Tuesday evening would clash with the game.
Kelly Grehan, councillor for Stone House Ward & Dartford North East, said: “England MUST win in normal time tonight. I have an in person council meeting at 7.”
In Mansfield a full District Council meeting is scheduled for 6pm, with Independent councillor Daniel Redfern tweeting: “Can’t believe we’ve got Full Council tonight of all nights.”
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Tuesday’s match at Wembley Stadium is one of England’s biggest games for many years and I am sure millions of people will want to cheer the team onto glory.
“After such a difficult 16 months, I have no doubt that businesses and employers will, wherever possible, allow their workers to finish work just a little bit early to enjoy what could be an historic sporting occasion.
He added: “I’ll certainly be recommending to my staff that they tune in for this massive game.”