Number of night workers up 9% in five years

By agency reporter
October 29, 2017

The number of people regularly working nights has shot up by 260,000 in the past five years – a nine per cent increase, according to new analysis from the TUC.

Britain’s late-night workforce now has nearly 3.2 million members, meaning one in nine (12 per cent) workers in the UK now work through the night.

One in six (18 per cent) black workers work nights – significantly more than the one in nine (11 per cent) white workers who do so. Over 150,000 black workers now do night work.

The majority (62 per cent) of night-workers are male, with women making up well over a third (38 per cent). One in 11 women work nights, compared to one in seven men.

The North West and Yorkshire have the highest rates of night-working, with one in nine workers on night duty.

Previous research by the TUC revealed that night working is most common in industries such as security, logistics, manufacturing and healthcare work.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said, “As the clocks change, most of us can look forward to an extra hour in bed. But while we sleep, Britain’s late-night workforce will be busy. Whether it’s firefighters keeping watch, or drivers delivering packages across the country, we all depend on the UK’s army of night-workers.

“Night work can play havoc with family and social life, and have long-term health impacts. Many of the jobs are tough and often solitary. That’s why night workers deserve strong rights and protections at work, to make sure they can get on with the job safely and happily.”

The TUC recommends that:

  • Employers and unions should ensure that night-working is only introduced where necessary, and that no existing workers should be forced to work nights;
  • Shift patterns should be negotiated between unions and employers;
  • Workers should have some control over their rotas, so that they can ensure that their shifts suit them;
  • Workers should always have sufficient notice of their shift patterns so they can plan well in advance. Changes at short notice should be avoided;
  • Working nights leads to extra costs and inconvenience for workers, especially around childcare. Nightwork wages should reflect this.

* Research on the negative health impacts of night work here



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