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Decent sanitation is a vital right for workers

19 Nov 2022

This World Toilet Day is a sobering reminder of how far there is still to go for workers’ access to decent, safe sanitation facilities.

Across the world, millions of transport workers - and women transport workers in particular - face the indignity of workplaces where it is nearly impossible to do something as simple as go to the toilet.

Whether it’s sanitation facilities that aren’t clean, that aren’t safe, that aren’t accessible, or that simply don’t exist, workers are subjected to conditions that put their health at serious risk.

But in workplaces in every corner of the globe, transport unions and ITF-affiliates are leading the struggle for the right to decent sanitation facilities, with the help of the ITF Sanitation Toolkit.

The toolkit is a comprehensive and interactive resource for transport unions to lead the campaign for better sanitation facilities for workers. It is designed to equip unions with everything they need to win better conditions, and highlights success stories from unions already engaged in the struggle.

For this World Toilet Day, the ITF is launching the Toolkit in a number of other languages, to give unions all around the world access to this vital resource. As well as English, it is now available in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Hindi

Jodi Evans, Women Transport Workers’ and Gender Equality Officer, said: “No one, anywhere, should be denied the right to safe and secure sanitation facilities. But it is clear that employers simply cannot be trusted to deliver that most basic right. For women workers in particular, this creates a major, structural barrier to the world of work.”

“That is why this is so important to transport unions and the ITF, and why we are excited to be equipping more unions than ever before to take up this work.”

Safe access to decent sanitation facilities is vital for all workers, but it is an issue felt particularly acutely by women transport workers.

To break down these barriers for women in the world of work, and to ensure dignity and safety for all workers, it is vital that trade unions around the world take up the campaign for better conditions.

This is why today, the ITF is also launching a new exposé that profiles the stories of public transport workers and their everyday reality of having insufficient access to safe, clean, decent sanitation facilities.

The report, Sanitation rights are human rights: public transport worker voices identifies the key issues that need to be addressed in order to improve workplace sanitation conditions and to ensure that public transport workers have safe access to decent sanitation facilities.

Read the full report here.