Toilet attendant ‘sacked’ but not an employee

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A Dutch chain of cafeteria-type restaurants has been sold off, and one of the things the new owners have done is get rid of their ‘volunteer’ toilet attendants.

Dutch toilet attendants are more often than not female pensioners of modest background who ‘beg’ for change in exchange for keeping an establishment’s toilets clean, the toilet paper stocked, and so on. I say ‘beg’ because they usually don’t ask for money directly, as Dutch social etiquette dictates we should pay them the amount suggested usually indicated next to a collection dish. A lot of people have issues with this, as they find it exploitative and because going to the toilet shoud be free and part of the service.

These women are apparently not appreciated enough to be hired as employees although they work for companies like fast food chains and what not that are swimming in money. In the case of the cafeteria-type restaurants, they’ve decided to actually hire employees to clean toilets like in train stations and elsewhere, and also believe toilets should be used for free.

While it is sad that a toilet attendant is being ‘dismissed’, it’s still sadder that rich companies feel it is perfectly OK to exploit these vulnerable people, a non-job that’s traditionally female and as devalued as a non-job can be with begging, buying their own cleaning supplies (!) and ‘working’ long hours. The fact that a company would rather pay people to properly clean toilets means they are cleaning up their act, not taking away someone’s government-subsidised non-livelihood.

Letting someone perform work for small change is the definition of modern-day slavery and should be abolished.

(Link: www.telegraaf.nl)

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