- Thursday 31 January 2019
Across the UK tens of thousands of workers are being denied toilet dignity.
In countless workplaces, staff are either are not provided with decent toilets or have undue, unnecessary or officious restrictions placed on them when they attempt to use the facilities provided.
Unite is demanding that employers take action to ensure that workers are granted toilet dignity in the workplace, as well as working with employers to improve welfare facilities.
While some employers are willing to address toilet dignity, such as building materials firm Hanson UK which collaborated with Unite shop stewards to provide new toilets, showers, washing amenities and rest areas for staff, far too many bosses continue to ignore the issue.
Examples discovered by Unite where toilet dignity is denied include: bank workers being required to urinate in a bucket, no female toilets being provided on construction sites and bus drivers not being allowed a break for over five hours at a time.
Unite has also found that women in particular are denied toilet dignity, especially when they are on their period. Unite launched a period dignity campaign in September and the campaign is now being extended to sectors such as construction and passenger transport where there are additional challenges.
A female lorry driver’s story
“I was making a delivery to a company. When I arrived I asked if I could use the facilitates and was told no. I was shocked to learn I was supposedly a security risk.
“This despite the fact I had just transported bonded freight in a 40ft trailer to this company and had my own company I.D., drivers licence, CPC Card and a digital tachograph card on me.
“I had just started my period and needed clean toilet facilities. The duty manager wanted me to tip the 40ft trailer when I had blood running down my legs. I was so stressed and did not know what to do.
“A lovely lady from the company next door noticed I needed help and took me to their ladies toilets. There was a security guard watching over my freight whilst I was away from my vehicle.
“On my return the duty manager approached me with anger as I had found someone to help me. He threatened to make all my bonded freight ‘unknown’, which meant my company would be charged for having to X-ray the whole shipment again.
“This behaviour should not be allowed. It is a human right to be able to use toilet facilities.”
The controversial Parc Adfer energy from waste construction site in Deeside, north Wales, was the first company to be named and shamed by construction union Unite, for the disgusting state of its toilets and welfare facilities.
The pictures of the disgusting welfare facilities were provided to Unite by a whistleblower who was concerned about the conditions at the site. The photos show broken urinals, overflowing bins and a blocked toilet.
Report your employer for neglecting to provide decent toilets and welfare facilities
Email Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner at firstname.lastname@example.org if your employer is failing to provide toilet dignity in the workplace.