Recommendations for Improving Night Workers’ Livelihoods

Some migrant night workers are forced into bonded debts, they work 12-13 hour long nightshifts on poverty pay and they are at risk of physical harm and health hazard. Yet these workers are often invisible and their problems are not a priority for policy makers. Whatever your tax bracket and regardless of whether you work the day or night shift, I invite you to engage with the following questions for discussion:

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  • Why are the majority of migrants in London hired in the low-skilled work?
  • In what ways has discrimination shaped the decisions of the migrant night workers in these blogs?
    See the Night workers profiles: market trader, rickshaw, chef.
  • Why are those doing the graveyard barely surviving in London?
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    [h2]Recommendations[/h2]After conducting research, we have identified several ways to improve the rights of migrant night workers in London. We recommend the following:

    [h3]Pay the Living Wage[/h3]Require all employers to pay the London Living Wage so that no night workers are forced to live on poverty pay. Additionally, nightwork rates should include other benefits  to compensate for extra medical checks and expenses that night workers have because of strains on their bodies (free examinations to prevent cholesterol and heart disease).

    [h3]Enforce existing legislation[/h3]Enforce existing legislation that protects night workers in the European Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC) and the UK’s Working Times Regulations to limit nightshifts to 8 hours. Additionally, the law should be amended to stipulate that night workers cannot change shift patterns too quickly.

    [h3]Organise for Rights[/h3]

    Unite migrant night workers in one common association to lobby for improving their working conditions, livelihoods and rights. Night work is a largely unseen industry because its hours run counter to mainstream society. Certain parts of the industry (for example, rickshaw driving) are left unregulated. There is no excuse for this lack of regulation just because it is past the regulators’ bed time.


    These reports have made clear that London’s migrant night workers are an important demographic. We highlighted that the night workers’ livelihoods are a mix of hope, sacrifice, and resilience in their dream of making a brighter future in Britain. At a time of economic decline, the growing problems of working at night are many.

    We have identified a gap in both scholarship and policy making in regards to nightwork. Namely, more in-depth research into hate crimes against migrant night workers needs to be carried out. Equally, we hope that these recommendations will ignite interest and raise a call for action by agents, organisations and policy makers to bring positive changes and to improve the livelihoods of migrant night workers.

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