Monday 19th November saw the return of world toilet day, an event that was launched to increase awareness of the ever-growing number of people who have no excess to a safe toilet. According to organisers, 4.5 billion people across the world live without a safe toilet, and 1.8 billion use drinking water sources that may have been contaminated with faeces.

This year, to tie in with World Toilet Day, major union, Unite, have published research on the lack of ‘toilet dignity’ employees have in their work place, especially women. Unite said it had uncovered evidence of staff at branches of big high-street banks being required to urinate in buckets, construction sites failing to provide any female toilets and people having major restrictions placed upon them in using facilities.

The worst industries for having unnecessary or officious restrictions, were found to be bus and lorry driving, construction, warehousing, agriculture and the banking and finance sector. Women suffer that most in workplaces with many not supplying them with the needs and understanding to have a dignified period.

Gail Cartmail, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said to The Guardian:

“It is clearly deeply humiliating for the workers who are being denied toilet dignity. Employers have got absolutely no excuse for ensuring toilet dignity and if they fail to do so they should be prosecuted by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive).”

With 62.5% of the world’s population not having access to safe sanitation, World Toilet Day is working to ensure that everyone has access to a safe toilet by 2030.

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