Train drivers’ union, ASLEF, calls for better toilet facilities for staff

Some train drivers do not drink water, tea or coffee when on duty to avoid having to go to the toilet because of the lack of facilities, according to a trade union.

Aslef said staff and passengers deserved to have access to decent toilets and washing facilities.

The union said a lack of access to safe, clean toilets and problems workers have to access them during their working day was a “real problem” on the railway.

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General secretary Mick Whelan said: “It’s an occupational health and safety issue as well as one of basic human rights.

“Access to toilets and washing facilities is essential for good public health and to prevent the spread of disease.

“The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has thrown into stark relief the importance of hygiene and access to adequate toilet and handwashing facilities in the prevention of the spread of transmissible diseases.

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“When the train and freight operating companies are commissioning a new train they should build and design it with a staff toilet on board.

“Some firms are fitting camping toilets on old trains, and while not great, freight drivers say a camping toilet is better than a bush.”

Aslef said some train drivers do not drink water, tea or coffee to avoid having to go to the toilet during their shift.

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The union spoke out on World Toilet Day, an official United Nations international observance day designed to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.

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Shannon Butcher