Issue date
18 Dec 2012

date: 17 December 2012

embargo: 00:01 hours Tuesday 18 December 2012

As many workplaces prepare to shut down for the Christmas break and thoughts turn to family and friends, mince pies and presents under the tree, the TUC is today (Tuesday) urging everyone to spare a thought for the tens of thousands of people who will be working this Christmas Day.

TUC analysis of official statistics shows that the number of people who work on 25 December rose by 78 per cent between 2004 and 2010 (the most recent year for which figures are available). In 2010 almost 172,000 employees were in work on Christmas Day, compared to just over 96,000 in 2004.

Just over 87,000 women and 84,000 men were working on 25 December 2010. The number of female employees working was 70 per cent higher than in 2004 and the number of male workers working on Christmas Day was 88 per cent higher than in 2004.

NHS and social care workers are likely to make up largest group of people working this Christmas. Nearly 75,000 were at work in 2010 compared to just over 47,000 in 2004.

As well as hospitals asking more staff to work during the festive period, over 14,000 people worked in hotels, pubs and restaurants on Christmas Day two years ago with a similar number working in local shops and garages.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'There has been a significant increase in the number of people working on Christmas Day in recent years, reflecting the changing nature of the way we live our lives.

'We should all spare a thought for the people next Tuesday who will be hard at work while we're opening our presents, messing about with our new gadgets, tucking into our turkey dinners, sipping a glass of sherry and relaxing with our families.

'Unions have worked hard to make sure that the UK's Christmas Day employees get premium rates, earning double or even triple their normal pay. But whether it be the emergency services, those in the health service, call centre workers, people working in petrol stations or in hotels and restaurants, let's remember all those whose work helps keep the country ticking over while the rest of us are enjoying ourselves.'


Number of people working on Christmas Day by gender


Christmas Day 2004

Christmas Day 2010

Per cent increase in Christmas Day working












Source: Labour Force Survey Autumn quarters 2005 and 2011

Number of people working on Christmas Day by industry


Christmas Day 2010

Health & social care work


Public administration & defence


Hotels & restaurants


Wholesale, retail & motor trade


Transport, storage & communication


Other community, social & personal




Misc industries




Source: Labour Force Survey Autumn quarters 2005 and 2011

- Some of the jobs being done by people at work on Christmas Day include: security staff, police, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, doctors, hospital cleaners, care home workers, personal social care workers, shop workers, people working in petrol stations, pub, bar and restaurant workers, coastguards, lighthouse keepers, journalists, call centre workers, computer operatives (to keep the ATM network running), vicars, hospital chaplains, broadcast engineers, nuclear engineers, zoo keepers, charity workers, printers, pilots, cabin crew, flight engineers, musicians, steelworkers, people working in hotels, and power station employees.

- The second table accounts for industries where 10,000 or more employees worked on Christmas Day in 2010. The miscellaneous industries total accounts for the industries where fewer than 10,000 people worked on Christmas Day.


Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: [email protected]
Alex Rossiter T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07887 572130 E: [email protected]