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Delivery drivers and fast food couriers are often having to urinate in bushes and have no way of cleaning their hands – contrary to coronavirus advice – because they are being denied toilet access on a frequent basis, a union has claimed.
Unite said it had been contacted by drivers, many of whom work for platforms such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo, who claim they are increasingly being denied toilet access, despite the provision being a right under Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
This is often because public toilets remain closed in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and restaurants and takeaway outlets are not allowing visiting delivery workers to use their facilities.
Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “This is a serious public health matter. When the government’s key advice is to wash your hands it is alarming that takeaways are actively preventing drivers from doing this and then expecting them to deliver food to people’s homes.
“Takeaways and fast food outlets have got to stop taking the pee out of delivery drivers and instead ensure that they have access to toilets when they need them.
“The problem of a lack of access to toilets is not confined to fast food couriers; throughout the pandemic, delivery drivers have regularly reported that they have been denied access to toilets.”
The union said workers who are denied access to toilets should report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive.
Unite’s warning came as toilet access campaigners called for public washroom facilities to be reopened as non-essential retail outlets began trading again across England.
The charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK has urged local councils and shopping centres to open public toilets, with social distancing measures in place, as soon as possible.
Campaigns manager, Sarah Hollobone, said: “This will not only dramatically improve the quality of life for people with Crohn’s or colitis, but also people with other conditions that require toilet access.
“People with Crohn’s and colitis already feel isolated because of their condition and locking up public toilets unnecessarily adds to this.”