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Issue date

23 December 2016

- Nurses’ real salaries down £2,600 compared with 2011
- Police earning £1,300 less than five years ago
- TUC criticises “Scrooge-like” public sector pay cap for Christmas Day workers

Many people working on Christmas Day have seen their real wages fall in the last five years, TUC analysis reveals today (Friday).

The research, which looks at those working in hospitals and emergency services during Christmas, found that compared with real annual salaries in 2011:

  • Nurses’ pay is down £2,600;
  • Midwives’ pay down £3,300;
  • Police officers’ pay is down £1,300;
  • Ambulance workers’ pay is down £2,200;
  • Firefighters’ pay is down £3,200.

Last year thousands of emergency staff worked over Christmas to provide help during the Christmas floods.

In total, the TUC estimates that 900,000 people work on Christmas Day in the UK.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“For most of us, Christmas is a well-earned break from the daily grind. But nearly a million people will be working on Christmas Day this year.

“Many of those keeping our streets safe and providing emergency care have seen their pay fall sharply over the past five years.

“Ministers should show some seasonal goodwill and end the real-terms pay cuts. The government’s Scrooge-like public sector pay cap has to go, to ensure that wages at least keep up with prices.”


Notes to Editors:
Changes in real wages 2011-2016


% change in real 2011 wages (CPI)

Actual change in 2011 real wages (CPI)







Police constable






Ambulance worker



- Sources: Office for National Statistics, NHS Employers, Office for Manpower Economics / Police Negotiating Board

- This analysis has used the government’s preferred CPI measure of inflation, which does not take into account increased housing costs for workers.

- All TUC press releases can be found at

- TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews


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