• Switzerland's news in English

Excrement and urine shower Zurich tunnel workers

Meritxell Mir · 13 Oct 2011, 13:16

Published: 13 Oct 2011 17:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Oct 2011 13:16 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Construction workers at the main railway station in Zurich have issued an ultimatum to rail operator SBB, threatening to stop working if excrement continues to fall from the ceiling of an alleyway they are building.

The problem derives from the fact that some of the old carriages on Swiss trains use toilets that deposit faeces directly onto the tracks. The human waste usually stays in place until it dries or the rain washes it away.

But an exception occurs whenever someone uses the toilets on trains stopped at Zurich station. 

Construction workers operating below tracks 10,11,12,13,15 and 16 have reported receiving frequent faecal showers from cracks in the ceiling of the passageway where they are working.

“It is unhealthy, revolting and humiliating to work under those conditions,” Remo Schaedler, co-director of the UNIA trade union in Zurich, told newspaper Tages Anzeiger.

Workers started to complain a month ago, causing the SBB authorities to put Plexiglas panels under the tracks. The problem was not entirely solved, however, as excrement continued dripping down into construction area.

"But it seems the solution is difficult because there has to be a space between the trains’ wheels and the Plexiglas," said SBB spokesman Reto Kormann.

UNIA and SBB are discussing other options, such as closing the toilets just before a train arrives at Zurich station and opening them again once the train has departed. Another suggestion is to only use the older carriages at the rear of trains, since the construction work is taking place under an area generally occupied by the front end.

Workers have now given SBB an ultimatum to fix the situation completely before Wednesday next week, the Tages Anzeiger reports.

Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Protect Swiss waterways or lose our fish': WWF
Photo: Richi Stadelmann/WWF

Eighty-five percent of fish species in Switzerland are under threat, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

SBB pilots new annual pass – costing 12,200 francs
The 'door-to-door' pass includes use of an electric car. Photo: SBB

Swiss federal railways (SBB) is looking for 100 people willing to pilot a new annual transport pass that includes use of an electric car.

Immigration to Switzerland falls as emigration rises
File photo: The Local

Immigration in Switzerland has fallen considerably this year, according to official figures.

Wawrinka aces his way into Basel quarterfinals
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The home favourite returns to the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors for the first time in five years.

Illegal immigrant dies after setting himself on fire
The victim was treated at University Hospital Zurich. Photo: University Hospital Zurich

The 45-year-old Tunisian was threatened with deportation.

Swiss government rejects call for second immigration vote
Photo: Justus Blumer/Christophe G

The Swiss government has rejected a popular initiative calling for a revote on plans to limit immigration.

Bern: companies should report salary inequality by law
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Swiss government wants to force small companies to examine their rates of pay every four years.

Husband in custody after Orbe body identified
File photo: Bas Leenders

The deceased is a 55-year-old woman who lived in the house with her husband.

Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available