Carers and nurses among million night workers earning less than £10 per hour, according to TUC

The TUC is calling for increased pay and better conditions for millions of night shift workers in the UK

One in three night workers earns less than £10 per hour, including many care workers who are also on zero-hours contracts, according to new analysis.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is calling for better pay and conditions for more than three million people who work nights and ‘keep the country running while we are all asleep’.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • About a million people who work nights are paid less than £10 per hour, despite the detrimental impact of night work on health and wellbeing, an analysis of Office for National Statistics data b the TUC has found
  • Workers in the North East and Scotland are most likely to work nights, while key workers are twice as likely as the average worker to be on the night shift 
  • Nurses and care workers are the professions most likely to have to work nights, and the TUC is calling for an end to zero hours contracts, a minimum of £10 per hour and full pay for sleep-in shifts for care workers 
  • Around one in 10 workers in the UK work night shifts, according to the latest Labour Force Survey 
  • The TUC is calling for pay increases, legislation mandating sufficient prior notice of shit patterns and compensation for last-minute shift changes for the 3.2m night workers in the UK

Where are workers most likely to work night shifts?

Region/nation Number of night workers Percentage of workers doing night shifts Proportion of night workers who are key workers 
North East 140000 13% 47% 
North West 389000 12% 54% 
Yorkshire and Humberside 274000 11% 48% 
East Midlands 246000 12% 50% 
West Midlands 264000 10% 44% 
East of England 276000 9% 54% 
London 432000 10% 41% 
South East 385000 9% 45% 
South West 256000 10% 56% 
Wales 171000 12% 57% 
Scotland 306000 13% 42% 
Northern Ireland 80000 8% 53% 
UK 10.6% 

Source: Labour Force Survey, Apr-Jun 21, Usual to work at night

What’s been said?

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Working through the night is tough – with night-workers at higher risk of health problems and disruption to their daily lives.

“We all owe Britain’s night workers a huge debt for keeping the country running while we are asleep.

“It is not right that so many of those who work overnight – especially in key sectors like care – are on low pay and insecure contracts.

“The government must ensure that all night workers are treated with dignity at work. That means levelling up working conditions and pay and ensuring people are given proper notice of their shifts.

“And it means an immediate increase in the minimum wage to £10 an hour - which would benefit over two million key workers, and fair pay agreements across sectors which can agree fair rewards for those who work at night.”