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Sanitation rights: Gini's story

news 17 Feb 2023

Gini Aristi Hartono has worked in a train maintenance warehouse for the last 12 years. For the last year, she’s been in the position of Head of Warehouse, supporting the maintenance operations.

Though sanitation conditions are generally better than some places, one key issue faced by Gini and her women colleagues is that there are no gender-specific toilets. 

“The facilities we have in the main office are pretty appropriate. All of them are new, clean and separated. There are one or two toilets on each floor. However, in this warehouse – maybe because most of the staff members are men,... only 2 out of the 150 workers are women – there is no separate toilet for female staff.”

She highlights that women workers are often forced to use alternative facilities, but that this isn’t always possible.

“Across from the warehouse, next to the train tracks, there is a guesthouse or dormitory for the train drivers who work the morning shift to stay overnight. So, if there is no train in front of the warehouse, I use the toilets in the guest house. However, if there is a train on the track, I have to use the common toilet. So, we have to check it first.”

As a union leader, Gini is clear about the solution - and that it is the union which will be essential to making it happen:

“There are only four toilet rooms near the vicinity, and two are bathrooms. So, if I were to offer a solution, I would like them to build another more proper and gender-separate toilet.”

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 working in the transport industry, and the wider world of work, and to ensure dignity and safety for all workers,  trade unions around the world are taking up the campaign for better conditions.

Gini’s story is part of a new exposé of the sanitation conditions faced by workers in public transport around the world. The report, Sanitation rights are human rights: public transport worker voices, profiles the stories of public transport workers and their everyday reality of having insufficient access to safe, clean, decent sanitation facilities.

Read the full report.