Issue date
22 Dec 2015

As many workplaces prepare to shut down for the Christmas break, the TUC is today (Tuesday) urging everyone to spare a thought for the hundreds of thousands of people who will be working this Christmas Day.

The TUC estimates – based on official statistics – that the number of employees who will work on Friday 25 December is likely to exceed 900,000 this year – an increase of 42,000 (5 per cent) over the last three years.

Care workers (168,000) and medical staff (152,000) account for a big share of those working on Friday 25 December. In what is likely to be a busy festive period for the NHS, 89,000 nurses, 46,000 nursing assistants and 17,000 doctors will all be on duty.

And a large army of chefs (42,000), kitchen assistants (22,000), waiting (15,000) and bar staff (13,000) will be working in hotels, pubs and restaurants.

In addition, 22,000 police officers and 28,000 security guards will be at work. And 15,000 farm workers will be making sure that animals are being looked after.

Christmas Day services will also see 20,000 members of the clergy kept busy.

The TUC analysis shows that workers in the North East (1 in 28) will be the most likely to be at work, followed by those in the East Midlands (1 in 30) and the South West (1 in 31).

People in London (1 in 47) are the least likely to be on shift during Christmas Day.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Christmas Day is a special day that millions of us spend with our nearest and dearest.

“So we should all spare a thought for the people who will be hard at work while we’re opening our presents, tucking into the turkey and relaxing with our families.

“Many on duty on Christmas Day will be on low pay, especially in sectors like hospitality and social care.

“Let’s stop and remember all those who keep the services we rely upon running during the Christmas break.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Number of people working on Christmas Day by region/nation (thousands)

Region/nation

2012

2015

As a % of all employment in 2015

North East

42

42

3.6

North West

99

103

3.1

Yorkshire & the Humber

77

80

3.1

East Midlands

72

76

3.3

West Midlands

57

59

2.2

Eastern

78

82

2.7

London

89

95

2.2

South East

124

130

2.9

South West

84

88

3.2

England

722

753

2.8

Wales

35

36

2.5

Scotland

88

94

3.6

Northern Ireland

20

20

2.4

UK total

863

905

2.9

Sources: 2012 ONS special release, 2015 TUC estimates.

Number of people working on Christmas Day by occupation (thousands)

Occupation

2012

2015

Care workers and home carers

136

153

Nurses

77

89

Nursing auxiliaries and assistants

43

46

Chefs

33

42

Security guards and related occupations

31

28

Cleaners and domestics

23

23

Police officers (sergeant and below)

21

22

Kitchen and catering assistants

20

23

Clergy

26

20

Medical practitioners

15

17

Waiters and waitresses

14

15

Snr care workers

17

15

Farm workers

11

15

Bar staff

11

13

Occupations with less than 10,000 working Christmas day

378

367

Total

863

905

Source:  Labour Force Survey updated by TUC estimate.

- The TUC has case studies of people working at Christmas. Please contact the press office to be put in contact.

- The latest ONS figures relate to Christmas 2012. The TUC estimated figures for 2015 by increasing the 2012 results to take account of employment growth.

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Alex Rossiter  T: 020 7467 1285  M: 07887 572130  E: arossiter@tuc.org.uk