The Co-op has launched a new report to highlight night shift workers whose mental and physical health may be at risk.

The report, The Manifesto for Night Shift Workers, calls upon retailers and policy makers to recognise how the lives of night shift workers are being affected in the UK. It warns that their relationships and friendships are put under strain, and their long term mental and physical health is put at risk because they work at night. It suggests that the seven million UK night shift workers are physically impacted by the lack of sleep and mentally impacted by their place in society.

The manifesto sets out five goals for the initiative:

  • Recognise night shift workers and champion night workers as a coherent group
  • Respond to their needs - place night shift workers at the heart of any solution
  • Respect and understand that they face a specific set of challenges in a variety of working conditions
  • Research-led - build an evidence-base to implement evidence-based solutions
  • Raise their profile and mobilise a cross-industry response to mitigate these challenges

It also suggests practical solutions such as installing better lighting, more consultations with night shift workers and more frequent health checks.

Co-op’s supply chain and logistics director Andy Perry said: “Sleep is something that unites us all – we all need it and we all know how terrible we can feel without enough of it. Yet whilst our round-the-clock culture is propped up by a growing number of people who work through the night, their contribution to society goes largely ignored.

“It is essential that we, as employers, do everything in our power to establish a recognised framework of best practice which places the interests of nightshift workers at its heart and that policy is put in place to protect their physical and mental health. We are delighted to be launching this new manifesto and we hope that it forms the basis of a movement which will radically improve the lives of many people who are working in the UK night after night, year after year.”

According to the Association of Convenience Stores Local Shops Report 2020, 4% of 46,955 convenience stores in the UK are open 24 hours while 23% don’t close until 11pm or later.

The Convenience Conference in October highlighted one of the 24-hour stores in the UK. Lumina Intelligence’s Ed Sibley spoke to Nisa retailer Tabrez Hussain about the logistics of running a store open 24 hours a day including catering for those working night shifts.