Night working has grown since the recession, with over three million employees regularly working at night in the UK, a new report from the TUC shows.
A Hard Day’s Night, published today (Wednesday) to coincide with this week’s London tube strike over pay and conditions for the upcoming night service, examines the negative impact night shifts can have on work/life balance and family life.
The TUC are calling for re-evaluation of night-workers’ rights as more employees begin to work anti-social hours. General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“We all value night workers, whether they are cleaning our office, caring for a sick relative or driving all night so that there are fresh goods in our local shop. But night work is hard and it disrupts family life. So we must show our appreciation for the sacrifices night workers make by ensuring they have sensible rights and protections.
“It’s not right for employers to require night working without adequate consultation and negotiation. With night work increasing, employers must play fair and play safe, or public safety will be put at risk and the families of night workers will suffer.”
In 2014, a total of 3,168,000 people in the UK were regularly working at night, an increase of 200,000 people (or 6.9 percent) since 2007.
Negative health benefits associated with working at night include heightened risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression.
The report also shows that working anti-social hours can negatively affect an employee’s home life, increasing the risk of relationship problems, higher childcare costs and impacting the emotional wellbeing of night workers’ children.
Negative impacts of night working were found to be less considerable when employees had influence and control over their shift patterns.
Men are more likely to be night workers than women, with 14.9 percent of male employees working at night in 2014 compared to 9.7 percent of women. However, the number of female night workers is on the rise, increasing 12 percent between 2007 and 2014 compared to a four percent increase for men.
The TUC reminds employers to consider the implications of night working on their staff and address them accordingly. Frances O’Grady added:
“We are publishing recommendations today to better protect the wellbeing of night workers, and help them give a better service to the public. We encourage the government and employers to positively engage with trade unions on fair and sensible rights for night workers, so that we continue to enjoy the social benefits night workers give us without harm to them or the public.”