More than 1 million workers will be at work on Christmas Day

By agency reporter
December 25, 2019

As many workplaces shut down for the Christmas break, the TUC is urging everyone to spare a thought for the million-plus workers who will be working this Christmas Day.  

The TUC estimates that the number of employees who will work on Wednesday 25 December will be 1,104,000 – an increase of 22,000 since 2016. 

Care workers and senior care workers (171,000) account for the biggest share of those working, and in what is likely to be a busy festive period for the NHS, 88,000 nurses and 55,000 nursing assistants will also be on duty. 

A large army of chefs (39,000), kitchen assistants (29,000), waiting staff (18,000) and bar staff (15,000) will be working in hotels, pubs and restaurants. 

In addition, 14,000 police officers and 18,000 security guards will be at work, and Christmas Day services will see 25,000 members of the clergy kept busy.  Many union agreements ensure staff get premium rates or an extra day off for working on Christmas day, but a lot of service sector workers do not benefit from these agreements.

The TUC says employers should reward staff fairly for the inconvenience of working on Christmas Day and loss of time with their loved ones., and shopworkers’ union Usdaw called for shops to be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing day.

The TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We owe a huge debt to all those working on Christmas day. As we spend time with our loved ones, they keep Britain ticking over. Many on duty on will be on low pay, especially in sectors like hospitality and social care.  They deserve to be fairly rewarded for the essential services they provide.

“And people working in shops during the manic festive period should be given time off with their families.”

Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “The trend for more stores to open longer over the festive period inevitably has a big impact on shopworkers’ Christmas Day celebrations.

“Finishing late on Christmas Eve and then getting straight back to work on Boxing Day means that Christmas Day is not a proper break. So Usdaw welcomes those retailers not opening on Boxing Day and we urge others to follow their example.”

* Trades Union Congress https://www.tuc.org.uk/

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