Unite has echoed the findings of a report by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), on public concerns about the lack of public toilets, and highlighted how it also affects workers.
The RSPH report found that 74 per cent of adults believe that there are not enough public toilets in the area. However, Unite recognises this is also a major workplace issue as many workers including bus drivers, street cleaners, lorry drivers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers and refuse collectors are often reliant on using public toilets when they need to relieve themselves during the working day.
The lack of access to toilets often forces workers to reduce what they drink or to ‘hold on’ both of which can have serious consequences for health. Specific health conditions, pregnancy and period dignity also need recognition.
“The RSPH report again highlights the effect that a lack of public toilets has on the general public, but we must recognise that this is also a major workplace issue,” said Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland.
“Councils are closing public toilets with no consideration about how it affects the workers who rely on them – we call on employers too to ensure facilities are protected. This is a vital issue of health, dignity and equality. No worker’s basic requirements as a human being should be ignored or overlooked in this way,” she said.
“In some cases this has resulted in workers with medical conditions being forced to quit their jobs.
“Hoping that workers can instead use a local shop or supermarket is completely inadequate.
“It is essential that employers ensure that adequate provision is made for their workers, those who don’t must be held to account.”
Unite has launched a toilet dignity campaign to ensure that workers have access to decent toilets and do not have petty restrictions placed on utilising them.