Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, has accused online retailer Buy it Direct of denying drivers toilet dignity and of flouting welfare regulations.

Unite members undertaking deliveries to Buy it Direct’s, warehouse in Lowfield Way, Elland, Leeds, report being denied the use of the warehouse’s standard toilets and instead having to use a portaloo, with no washing facilities.

Forced to use portaloo

A manager for Buy it Direct told one Unite member the portaloo was suitable as “it was emptied every three days”.

Buy it Direct is acting in direct contravention of welfare regulations introduced in November 2017 by the Health and Safety Executive, following lobbying from Unite, which requires all employers of non-domestic premises to allow people who are not their employees (such as delivery drivers) to use their premises to access toilets and washing facilities.

Toilet dignity

Unite has also launched a toilet dignity campaign to ensure that all workers have access to decent toilets and are not subjected to petty rules which restrict them using facilities. As part of that campaign Unite is committed to naming and shaming companies such as Buy it Direct, for denying workers toilet dignity.

Unite has also reported the company to the HSE and will be pressing the organisation to take enforcement action against Buy it Direct.

No Excuse

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “There is no excuse for Buy it Direct to be denying drivers proper access to toilet facilities.

The company has welfare facilities but a manager is wrongly making arbitrary decisions about who can and cannot use them. Buy it Direct needs to take immediate action to comply with the law.

“A portaloo without washing facilities is both unsanitary and in direct contravention of the HSE’s welfare regulations.

“Buy it Direct is not the only employer failing to implement the HSE’s welfare provisions for drivers and other visitors to their premises, where these companies are identified Unite will take action to ensure our members receive toilet dignity.

“If drivers and other workers are denied toilet dignity it is important to complain and report the issue. Unite is committed to ensure that the regulations are fully complied with.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.