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Workers denied toilet access, says unions

THOUSANDS of transport workers in Britain have no access to toilets while working, unions have warned.

RMT and Unite published research into lack of access to toilet facilities on World Toilet Day today.

World Toilet Day is a United Nations initiative highlighting lack of sanitary facilities in developing countries.

But the two unions said the initiative is relevant in Britain, the world’s fifth-largest economy.

A survey of 4,000 lorry drivers by Unite found that nine out of 10 said they rarely or never had access to toilet facilities during work time. The problem is so bad that some are quitting their jobs, said Unite.

Others, including bus drivers, suffer health problems because of having to wait hours for a loo break, the union said.

Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “Transport workers the length and breadth of the UK are being denied toilet dignity on a daily basis.

“The lack of access to toilets is simply intolerable and can and does result in our members developing severe health problems and in some cases being forced to quit their jobs due to medical conditions.

“Employers have a clear legal duty to provide adequate toilets for their workers and Unite will be ensuring that those duties are met.”

She warned that a lack of access to toilets for women when they have a period or are going through the menopause are added barriers to women working in the sector.

RMT conducted a survey of staff and found that 77 per cent of female members do not have access to sanitary products in their workplace.

The union also found that 13 per cent of workers do not have access to a toilet at work and 45 per cent of workers don’t have time to go to the toilet. A lack of facilities caused particular problems for women and disabled people.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “These figures paint a horrific picture of the transport industry, which seems stuck in the 19th century in its attitude to toilets and welfare provision for workers rather than the 21st century.

“RMT will continue to fight for decent and accessible toilet facilities along with free sanitary protection for all.”


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