Women workers are still struggling for access to toilets a major new survey by Unite, the UK’s leading union, has revealed.
More than 12,000 women responded to the survey, which revealed that 14 per cent only sometimes or occasionally have access to toilets at work. One per cent said they never have access to a toilet in the workplace.
Unite is building on the survey to identify specific employers who are failing in their legal duty to provide clean and accessible toilets and hold them to account.
Asked about whether toilets are clean with hot and cold running water, soap and toilet paper, 17 per cent said occasionally or sometimes and two per cent said never.
Nearly half of female bus workers (44 per cent) reported only sometimes or occasionally having access to a toilet. Four per cent said they never have access to a toilet. Just under half of female bus drivers (40 per cent) also reported that the toilets they have access to are sometimes or occasionally clean with hot and cold water, soap and toilet paper. Five per cent said they never have access to such toilets.
Access to clean and properly stocked toilets was a serious issue for civil air transport workers as well, with 27 per cent reporting they only sometimes or occasionally have access to them. Four per cent said they never do.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is shameful that so many female workers still do not have decent toilets within the workplace. This is a very serious industrial issue.”
Unite National Equalities Officer Alison Spenser-Scragg said: “It is a legal requirement for employers to provide accessible and clean toilets, including sanitary bins, yet this survey shows that many are in contravention of the law. The fact that so many women are being left without toilet dignity at work is a national disgrace. Unite will challenge it in every workplace it is found to be occurring.”
Some of the comments submitted by respondents include:
For people with certain conditions there are not always enough accessible facilities available near our work and restroom areas. Sanitary bins in some of the facilities have not been emptied for months or even a year.”
“I work in a male environment and out of office the toilets are disgusting. I have raised this several times to no avail.”
“I have to use shared toilets most of the time. These are very frequently smelly with pee all over seats and sometimes floor and rarely cleaned if at all. There are no sanitary products or bins available.”