World Toilet Day 2019: Toilet rights are a human right!

19 Nov 2019

Today, November 19, marks World Toilet Day and this year’s theme is-fittingly-named “Leaving no one behind”. As a United National international observance day, today is all about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal number six, which promises sanitation for all by 2030.

The lack of accessible sanitation facilities and sufficient break times is an issue that heavily affects transport workers in all sectors. That’s why today of all days especially, the ETF calls for safe, decent and sufficient toilets and other sanitation facilities for all transport workers in Europe.

Toilet rights are a human right and a matter of health, safety and dignity at work!

The lack of decent and safe toilets and other sanitation facilities is, in particular, felt by women transport workers and it is closely linked to the low employment rate of women in the transport sector. This issue directly ties in with two of the ETF’s gender equality priorities, i.e. ending violence and harassment against women transport workers and making the transport sector more fit for women to work in.

Due to the global nature of the transport industry, access to sanitation is a global problem that requires a global approach and unified efforts across all levels. Hence, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) launches today its Transport Workers’ Sanitation Charter. With this charter, which is for all transport workers – women and men – the ITF aims to:

  • recall the recognition of the human right to sanitation in all spheres of life;
  • prompt wider recognition with a renewed emphasis on the workplace;
  • encourage positive action for improvement and realisation of this right at global, national and workplace levels, recognising particularly the health, safety and welfare issues faced by women transport workers which contribute to low levels of women’s participation in the sector.

The charter outlines the issue and calls for action at global, national and workplace levels, e.g. by governments, employers and other international bodies. Effective collective bargaining, social dialogue, and stakeholder engagement are cited as essential tools to advocate for this human right. Gender content and considerations are interwoven in the charter.

The charter is available for download on the ITF website.