World Toilet Day was established by the United Nations to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and start to break taboos about toilets. Sanitation for all by 2030 is one of the 17 UN sustainable development goals, in recognition of the global sanitation crisis.
Lack of access to decent toilets and washing facilities is a major issue for transport workers, and particularly women workers, as it is detrimental to their health, dignity and safety at work. The ITF regards access to sanitation as a workers’ right and a human right. In 2022, the International Labour Organization amended the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, adding health and safety at work.
ITF encourages, promotes and coordinates global action on 19 November World Toilet Day because safe and healthy working conditions are a fundamental right for workers, which needs to include access to safe, decent toilet facilities.
ITF launched the Transport Workers’ Sanitation Charter in November 2019 to address this problem, and the Sanitation Rights Toolkit in 2022. There have already been many campaign successes using the Charter and the Sanitation Rights Toolkit assists affiliates to implement the demands of the Charter.
Access to toilets is particularly challenging for transport workers who are often on the move. Having Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) recognised by the ILO means that employers can no longer deny this right. Businesses have an obligation to carry out due diligence along their supply chains to ensure OSH – including access to toilets – are respected.
Women can face further barriers. Pregnant, post-partum, menstruating and menopausal workers often suffer with increased health risks due to lack of sanitation, leaving many women facing direct or indirect discrimination when workplaces fail to facilitate their needs.
- Take a photo of your members holding Sanitation Campaign posters. Share these on your union social media channels and tag @ITFglobalunion.
- Use the ITF Sanitation Toolkit
- Organise a meeting, rally, demonstration to take place on World Toilet Day
- Hold an education activity within the union to raise awareness and look at the Sanitation Charter.