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Toilet rights are human rights: Transport Workers’ Sanitation Charter

19 November 2019

On World Toilet Day, 19 November 2019, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) are 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.

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 provisions is a benefit for all.

The sanitation charter work has been driven by the ITF’s urban transport unions representing public transport workers. 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.”

These demands for access to facilities and toilets are included in the ITF’s People’s Public Transport Policy under employment and decent work.

A variety of transport workers face particular problems accessing toilets, such as minibus, taxi and motorbike drivers, platform workers in the gig economy, and first / last mile delivery workers.

In the case of platform workers, low wages and pressure to keep up with demand means that they take as few breaks as possible.

Informal public transport workers face particular problems accessing toilets. Informal transport not only provides a meagre income for millions of workers, but also denies basic rights and respect for workers. The ITF’s informal workers’ charter calls for adequate sanitation and rest facilities for informal workers in transport workplaces.



ITF World Toilet Day website with a copy of the charter:


ABOUT THE ITF: The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is a democratic global union federation of 665 transport workers trade unions representing over 18 million workers in 147 countries. The ITF works to improve the lives of transport workers globally, encouraging and organising international solidarity among its network of affiliates. The ITF represents the interests of transport workers' unions in bodies that take decisions affecting jobs, employment conditions and safety in the transport industry.

For the latest news from the ITF visit