Union launches construction period dignity campaign

The UK’s construction union Unite has launched a campaign to ensure that female workers in the sector can have period dignity in the workplace with a site in Glasgow the first to sign up.

The campaign follows a survey of the union’s women construction members which found that a lack of facilities, when women were having their periods, was a major issue for many workers. 

Union launches construction period dignity campaign

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 has a four point plan to ensure construction period dignity and is asking companies to sign up to:

  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. Other sites are expected to sign up in the coming weeks. 

Unite activists have been supplied with letters, posters, leaflets and a petition in order to lobby their employer 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.

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