NIGHT workers need stronger rights, the TUC said yesterday as it published research showing a massive rise in people regularly working the graveyard shift.
Some 260,000 more people have joined the night-time workforce in the past five years.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady (pictured) called for more protection for such people, with night work causing long-term health problems and disrupting family and social life.
Britain’s night workforce has ballooned by 9 per cent to almost 3.2 million people, according to the study, with one in eight now working nights, rising to one in six for black workers.
The TUC report shows that three out of five night workers are men and the highest rates of night working are in the north-west and Yorkshire, where one in nine workers do night shifts. Night working is most common in security, logistics, manufacturing and healthcare.
In reminding Britain to turn the clocks back this Sunday, Ms O’Grady paid tribute to the “army of night workers” that includes firefighters and delivery drivers.
She 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.”