On the eve of World Toilet Day (Saturday 19 November) Unite, the UK’s leading union, has released an extensive survey of lorry drivers revealing that most are frequently denied toilet dignity during their working lives.

Extensive survey

The survey of 1,700 lorry drivers found that 76 per cent had in the last year experienced a situation when they needed to urgently use a toilet but none were available.

Over one in 10 drivers (11 per cent) said that a lack of access to toilets had resulted in them developing a medical condition or causing a disability.

Shameful figures

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “These figures are shameful. They demonstrate that not only are lorry drivers routinely denied access to decent clean toilets but problems are getting worse.

“Toilet dignity is a fundamental union demand, no worker should be routinely denied access to a clean toilet. Unite has a zero tolerance approach to any employer denying workers toilet dignity.”

Declining standards

A large proportion of drivers (38 per cent) reported that since the Covid pandemic began in 2020, access to toilets has gotten worse. When thinking about the state of toilets at service stations and truck stops, drivers reported the greatest problems were cleanliness (44 per cent) and restricted opening times (22 per cent).

Lorry drivers also highlighted that despite the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) establishing clear rules that businesses must allow drivers making deliveries to use their toilets, many are failing to abide by the law. Just over one in five drivers (22 per cent) said that they were always given access to customer toilets. Nearly a third of drivers (32 per cent) said that access to customer toilets had gotten worse during and since the pandemic.


Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “It is disgraceful that lorry drivers are being made ill by being denied routine access to toilets.

“A lack of access to toilets is a key reason why workers leave the industry, especially if they have a medical condition. The industry will never become more diverse and be attractive to new entrants until this problem is resolved and toilet dignity becomes mandatory.”

World Toilet Day

Unite surveyed 1,700 of its members employed as lorry drivers.

World Toilet Day is recognised by the United Nations and highlights the 3.6 billion people who are forced to live with poor quality toilets.


 Notes to editors

Toilet Dignity campaign

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.