A CAMPAIGN has been launched to ensure that female workers in the construction sector can have dignity in the workplace during a menstrual period.
Unite, the UK’s construction union, launched the campaign after a survey of its female construction members found that a lack of facilities when women were having their periods, was a major issue for many workers.
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 companies to sign up to a four-point plan that has been introduced to ensure construction period dignity:
- Ensure each site or depot has a designated female toilet, which is always accessible, regularly cleaned and lockable
- Handwashing facilities with running water and soap are provided in all welfare facilities
- Sanitary bins are provided and they are cleaned and emptied regularly
- Sanitary products are provided in a dispenser in a discreet location, free to workers.
The first site to sign up to the 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’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.