Tens of thousands of UK workers do not have access to decent toilets, Britain’s biggest trade union has said.
According to Unite, workers in one small bank branch were encouraged to use a bucket in a neighbouring room.
And other examples included bus drivers not being given a break for five hours and a construction worker who said the women’s toilets were used for storage.
The trade union is trying to raise awareness of toilet dignity, as Monday marks World Toilet Day.
Unite represents workers in a wide range of fields from nurses and teachers to bank staff and bus drivers.
It said it believes tens of thousands of workers are not provided with decent toilets or “have undue, unnecessary or officious restrictions placed on them when they attempt to use the facilities provided”.
And women in particular suffer toilet indignity, it said – especially when on their period. The union has previously called for all employers to provide sanitary products in the workplace, as they do with toilet roll.
It highlighted the case of one small bank branch which only recruited men and then encouraged workers to use a bucket in another room to reduce the time spent away from work.
The union’s assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said it was “simply disgraceful” and the situation is “clearly deeply humiliating” for workers.
“Employers have got absolutely no excuse for ensuring toilet dignity and if they fail to do so they should be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive,” she said.
According to HSE guidance, employers must provide “adequate” toilet and washing facilities “so far as is reasonably practicable”, including enough facilities for the number of workers, separate bathrooms for men and women and a supply of toilet paper.
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