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Over-50s push night working to highest ever level

Night working is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression

Older workers are pushing night working in the UK to its highest level since records began, an analysis shows.

The TUC research reveals there are now 924,000 night workers aged over 50 in Britain – up from 751,000 five years ago. A further 222,000 are aged over 60 and 69,000 are aged over 65.

The TUC said the key factors behind the rise are older employees staying in work for longer; more jobs being created in sectors like social care where older workers are more likely to be employed; and night working is at its highest ever level.

Overall, 3.25 million people (more than one in nine workers) work in Britain’s night-time economy – 100,000 more than five years ago.

But while the number of over 50s doing night work has accelerated in recent years, fewer young workers are doing night shifts.

Care workers (432,000) account for the majority of night workers, followed by nurses and midwives (232,000) and road transport drivers (208,000).

The TUC warned that as well as being bad for family life, the health risks of regular night work include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression, which are heightened for older workers.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady argued that the government is not doing enough to protect night workers.