The ‘Nowhere to Go’ report, launched by the ETU in August, exposes unsanitary, unsafe, inaccessible and unsuitable amenities faced by many workers in our industry and how this issue is disproportionately impacting women. It also raises deeper issues of many employers’ outdated attitudes towards women and blue-collar workers in subjecting them to conditions which would never be tolerated in the white-collar world.Email your state representative and ask them to take action
Ensuring workplace amenities and in particular, workplace toilets, are regularly serviced, hygienic, accessible and suitable should be a priority for every workplace. Sadly, this is often not the case. For women in historically male-dominated occupations women’s amenities are frequently treated as an inconvenience, an afterthought or not provided at all.
Women have many different needs for bathroom amenities – they deal with menstrual cycles, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, breastfeeding, and more. Not having adequate facilities is both a threat to their health and safety and a barrier for women’s participation in the workforce.
For men with health issues such as prostate problems, returning to work can be impossible just because of where the bathroom is. When the amenities do exist, they are often not clean or hygienic, are far away from the work site or in an unsafe location.
We want health and safety laws in this country to mandate minimum standards for workplace amenities to ensure they are regularly serviced, accessible, suitable, and open – for every worker.
The ‘Nowhere to Go’ report outlines 10 recommendations for change across legislation, industry and regulation. These recommendations aim to lift the minimum standards for all workers in our industries, not just for women.
Substandard amenities have been a long-standing issue in the industry for all genders. Now it’s time for legislation to change to ensure it meets the needs of all members of our Union, wherever they’re working, now and into the future.
- In September our Union held a follow-up workshop with union members and non-members around Australia to discuss next steps for the ‘Nowhere to Go’ campaign.
- The report has attracted a lot of media attention, featuring on ABC, Channel Seven News, news.com, Women’s Agenda and even the attention of international unions.
- The workshop was attended by shadow minister for Sydney Tanya Plibersek and included helpful information about how to approach politicians to start the process of legislative change. The workshop also established state groups who discussed who their political target would be and when they would approach them.
- ETU members will meet with their state politicians, supported by an official, asking for a commitment to change.
- ETU members also presented at the ALP Status of Women committee in October.
Get ready for a national day of action on 19 November - International Toilet Day!