Coronavirus: Delivery drivers being denied toilet and hand washing is a public health issue

Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, which represents over 50,000 lorry drivers has today (Monday 16 March) demanded that the Department for Transport (DfT) ensure that lorry drivers are not denied access to commercial toilets and washing facilities.

Legal right

Since November 2017, delivery drivers have had the legal right to use toilets and washing facilities in commercial premises when making deliveries.

However, Unite has received numerous reports from drivers throughout the UK that since the coronavirus crisis began, they are now being denied access to toilets and washing facilities when making deliveries.

Vital role

This means that drivers, who are crucial to ensure that food deliveries and other vital supplies continue to be made, cannot comply with the government’s primary advice to avoid the spread of coronavirus through hand washing.

Government action

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “The government has got to resolve this issue immediately. Lorry drivers are playing a vital role in keeping shops and companies supplied and trying to ease the public fears of a scarcity of goods.

 “To deny these vital workers access to toilets and washing facilities, is not only illegal but flies in the face of all government advice on tackling coronavirus.

 “Denying workers access to washing facilities, means the coronavirus is likely to be spread further due to companies acting in this dangerous manner.

 “If drivers are denied access to washing facilities, they must tell the employer this is illegal and report the company to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Public Health England.

 “The general public need to be told which companies are preventing lorry drivers from taking measures to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.”

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