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Toilet rights are human rights: Transport Workers’ Sanitation Charter

19 Nov 2019

On World Toilet Day, 19 November 2019, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is launching a Transport Workers’ Sanitation Charter, because toilet rights are human rights.

The charter provides guidance on what action should be taken by employers and governments to ensure access to toilets for transport workers, and includes a checklist for workers and their unions to assess current toilet provision.

World Toilet Day is an opportunity to take action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and help achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which promises sanitation for all by 2030. It is estimated that over 673 million people worldwide are forced to practice open defecation.

Access to toilets is particularly challenging for transport workers who are on the move. Across the world there are stories of awful sanitation conditions putting transport workers lives at risk. This is a particular issue for women transport workers, but improved toilet provision is a benefit for all.

Some of the charter’s demands are:

  • access to secure and clean toilets for women and men, which are well lit inside and outside
  • ventilated, lockable cubicles
  • appropriate hygiene (washing) facilities with clean water
  • affordable and appropriate menstrual hygiene products provided
  • paid rest breaks for transport workers who should be able to access toilets when they need them during working hours - without delay, and with no loss of income.

Diana Holland, chair of the ITF women transport workers’ committee, said: “Every trade unionist can use this charter to bargain with the employer. Every single employer can look at this charter and measure what they’re doing, and we can all use it to influence legislators and introduce laws that protect everybody throughout the world. This is a chance to make a real difference to something that matters to transport workers everywhere.”

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