In the 21st century women workers should be able to experience period dignity in the workplace. There is no reason why construction should be any different, which is why Unite has launched a period dignity campaign specifically for the construction sector. The campaign was initiated after Unite conducted an online survey of women members in the sector. One of the major issues the survey identified was the lack of welfare facilities, particularly the need for clean toilets, the supply of feminine hygiene bins and sanitary and shower facilities. One respondent to the survey gave a graphic account of her frustrations on trying to use a women’s toilet on a construction site. She said: “Toilets for females are a basic requirement but are usually locked. You have to seek the key from someone so by the time you find the person, usually male, with the key and after asking several people, also usually male, half the site now know you want to use the loo and when you open the door it is usually being used as a storage facility.” Unite’s Four Point Campaign: 1. Every site or depot has a designated female toilet, that is accessible, regularly cleaned and lockable 2. Hand-washing facilities, running water and soap are provided 3. Sanitary bins are provided and are cleaned and emptied regularly 4. Sanitary products are provided in a dispenser in a discreet location, free to workers. How you can support Unite’s Period Dignity Campaign: • Ask your employer to sign up • Get the campaign raised at health and safety committee meeting • Display the Period Dignity campaign poster at your workplace • Sign and circulate the Unite petition • Take pictures of workers supporting the Period Dignity campaign and circulate them on social media. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
16 JAN UNITE, THE UK’S CONSTRUCTION UNION, HAS LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN CALLING FOR ‘PERIOD DIGNITY’ FOR FEMALE WORKERS IN THE SECTOR. UNITE’S CAMPAIGN COMES ON THE BACK OF A SURVEY OF ITS WOMEN CONSTRUCTION MEMBERS THAT FOUND A WIDESPREAD LACK OF FACILITIES FOR WOMEN HAVING THEIR PERIODS. MEMBERS’ RESPONSES TO THE SURVEY INCLUDED: – “THE TOILETS WHERE I’M WORKING ARE UNISEX PORTALOOS. THESE ARE USUALLY DISGUSTING.” – “ONE PORTALOO. NO SEPARATE CHANGING FACILITIES. NO SANITARY PRODUCT BINS OR DISPENSERS.” – “ASKED FOR SANITARY BINS, GOT IGNORED. IF A FEMALE SAYS ANYTHING THEY DON’T LIKE, THEY PUT IT DOWN TO PMT.” UNITE IS ASKING CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES TO SIGN UP TO A FOUR-POINT ACTION PLAN: 1. ENSURE EACH SITE OR DEPOT HAS A DESIGNATED FEMALE TOILET, WHICH IS ALWAYS ACCESSIBLE, REGULARLY CLEANED AND LOCKABLE 2. HANDWASHING FACILITIES WITH RUNNING WATER AND SOAP ARE PROVIDED IN ALL WELFARE FACILITIES 3. SANITARY BINS ARE PROVIDED AND THEY ARE CLEANED AND EMPTIED REGULARLY 4. SANITARY PRODUCTS ARE PROVIDED IN A DISPENSER IN A DISCREET LOCATION, FREE TO WORKERS. THE FIRST SITE TO SIGN UP TO UNITE’S CAMPAIGN IS THE GLASGOW UNIVERSITY CAMPUS DEVELOPMENT, WHICH IS BEING BUILT BY MULTIPLEX. IT EXPECTS MORE SITES TO SIGN UP IN THE COMING WEEKS. UNITE ACTIVISTS HAVE BEEN SUPPLIED WITH LETTERS, POSTERS, LEAFLETS AND A PETITION WITH WHICH TO LOBBY EMPLOYERS TO ENSURE THAT UNITE’S PERIOD DIGNITY CAMPAIGN IS ADOPTED AT THEIR WORKPLACE. UNITE ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY GAIL CARTMAIL SAID: “UNITE IS ASKING CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYERS TO SIGN UP TO FOUR BASIC DEMANDS WHICH WILL ENSURE THAT WOMEN WORKERS CAN EXPERIENCE PERIOD DIGNITY. WITH EVER GROWING SKILLS SHORTAGES IN OUR INDUSTRY, IT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT CONSTRUCTION BECOMES MORE ATTRACTIVE TO WOMEN WORKERS. A SMALL STEP IN ACHIEVING THIS IS TO ENSURE THAT WOMEN CONSTRUCTION WORKERS CAN HAVE PERIOD DIGNITY AT WORK. “UNITE WELCOMES MULTIPLEX’S ROLE AS A TRAILBLAZER IN SIGNING UP TO THE CAMPAIGN AND WILL CONTINUE TO HIGHLIGHT OTHER SITES AND COMPANIES WHICH ALSO SIGN UP IN THE FUTURE.” UNITE’S CONSTRUCTION PERIOD CAMPAIGN IS AN EXTENSION OF THE UNION’S PERIOD DIGNITY CAMPAIGN WHICH WAS LAUNCHED LAST YEAR. THE CONSTRUCTION PERIOD DIGNITY CAMPAIGN HAS ADDITIONAL DEMANDS IN RECOGNITION OF THE LACK OF FACILITIES TOO OFTEN FOUND IN CONSTRUCTION.