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This week sees the launch of the 2019 Loo of the Year Awards and while the Awards do a brilliant job in raising standards as well as awareness of the need for decent facilities, there are still many people who need to use a toilet but struggle to be able to do so. Surprisingly, one group likely to experience problems is the workforce! Now I would have expected employers to be savvy enough to realise that an employee needing to use the loo is going to be a lot less productive than someone who's comfortable, but clearly this isn't always the case. Some employers just don't have adequate facilities while others are placing draconian restrictions on when their employees are able to use them.
One example discovered by trade union Unite regards bank workers forced to urinate in a bucket, (I'm assuming this was only temporary and hoping that there were hand washing facilities nearby)! Unite has also found that women in particular are denied what it refers to as 'toilet dignity'.
The Union cites the case of one lorry driver who asked to use the facilities before unloading her delivery. She was refused as she was considered a security risk - despite having just transported bonded freight in a 40ft trailer to the company and having her own company I.D., drivers licence, CPC Card and a digital tachograph card. Luckily the company next door allowed her to use their facilities, but sadly, although her lorry was watched by the original company's security guard in her absence, she met with hostility upon her return and was threatened with her bonded freight being classed as 'unknown' and requiring a second complete X-ray and its associated costs. This treatment and the denial of basic human needs, is unacceptable.
Unite is now asking people to report workplace toilet issues so it can name and shame employers and - through negotiations - persuade employers to make improvements. I'm thinking that Unite might be persuaded to sponsor a Loo of the Year Award for 2020 - perhaps for 'Most Improved Workplace Toilets'? I'm also wondering whether it might wish to collaborate with the Awards organisers to expose the issues delivery drivers and other people having to visit a site or company, experience when they ask to use the toilet? Perhaps by working together, we could further raise awareness of the need to provide facilities and thus improve standards for more people everywhere.
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17th January 2019