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TUC: Night workers in the North West deserve better pay and conditions

As the clocks go back tonight (Saturday) to mark the beginning of winter, the TUC is calling for better pay and conditions for night-workers – including the 231,000 key workers who regularly work nights in the North West.

New analysis published by the union body reveals that 1 in 3 (35%) night-workers in the UK earn less than £10 an hour. This is despite the heightened health risks that come with night work and the disruption it causes to workers’ lives.  
Key workers 
The analysis also shows that key workers (231,000) account for more than half of the North West’s 424,000 night-workers. 
Key workers are twice as likely to work overnight than other workers. 
Low-paid and insecure 
The TUC says that many key workers who keep vital services going overnight are undervalued and often employed on low pay and insecure contracts.
Care workers are more likely to work night shifts than other profession. But many earn less than £10 an hour and are on zero-hours contracts.  
The union body says the government must use its long-awaited employment bill to “level up” conditions for workers in this sector starting with banning zero-hours contracts. 
Health impact of night work 
As well as being bad for family life, the health risks of regular night work include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression. 
The TUC is calling for a number of measures to protect and compensate night workers. These include:  
  • Pay to properly reflect the likely additional costs of childcare and inconvenience that night shifts can entail. 
  • New legislation to ensure that workers always have sufficient notice of their shift patterns so they can make arrangements well in advance.  
  • Compensation for shift changes at short notice. 
TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said: “Working through the night is tough – especially in the middle of a global pandemic.  
“We all owe night workers in our region a huge debt for keeping services 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 honouring the promise to increase the minimum wage that would benefit over two million key workers.” 
Top 10 occupations for night workers 
Profession 
Number 
Caring Personal Services 
406,000
Nursing and Midwifery Professionals 
245,000 
Protective Service Occupations 
194,000 
Road Transport Drivers 
186,000 
Other Elementary Services Occupations 
162,000 
Health Professionals 
116,000
Elementary Security Occupations 
89,000
Sales Assistants and Retail Cashiers 
88,000 
Artistic, Literary and Media Occupations 
81,000 
Elementary Storage Occupations 
76,000 
Managers and Proprietors in Hospitality and Leisure Services 
74,000 
Source: ONS Labour Force Survey, Apr-Jun 20, Usual to work at night  
Night workers by UK region/nation 
 
Region/nation 
Number of night workers 
Number of key workers doing night shifts 
% of night workers who are key workers 
North East 
201,000
100,000
50% 
 
North West 
424,000
231,000
54% 
 
Yorkshire and Humberside 
306,000
183,000
60% 
 
East Midlands 
267,000
133,000
50% 
 
West Midlands 
285,000
136,000
48% 
 
East of England 
293,000
150,000
51% 
 
London 
415,000
180,000
44% 
 
South East 
417,000
218,000
52% 
 
South West 
259,000
137,000
53% 
 
Wales 
169,000
97,000
57% 
 
UK 
3,410,000
1,764,000
52% 
 
                 
Source: Source: ONS Labour Force Survey, Apr-Jun 20, Usual to work at night

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