Today (Monday 24 September) sees the national launch of Unite’s period dignity campaign with a photo-opportunity at 13:00 on the Unite stand at the Labour party conference in Liverpool.

The multi-strand campaign, demanding that women and girls have period dignity, is calling for sanitary products in the workplace and places of education to be as normal as having access to toilet roll. The campaign is also calling for the government to deliver on its commitment to remove VAT on sanitary products as soon as possible.

By making changes in our workplaces, places of education and in society, Unite believes women and girls will be able to have a positive period knowing that they are able to access sanitary products.

Today’s launch sees a range of materials go live, including a video featuring supportive comments from TV star Denise Welch as well as toolkits for Unite members to use in the workplace to encourage employers to sign up to the campaign.

The campaign has already received the support of employers with bosses at Rolls-Royce’s Washington site backing the campaign by agreeing to provide sanitary products at no cost in toilets.

To find out more about the campaign visit www.unitetheunion.org/perioddignity.

Period dignity campaign lead and Unite regional officer Suzanne Reid said: “That time of the month can be inconvenient and embarrassing for women and girls. It shouldn’t be. Having a period is a natural process that should never be a source of awkwardness. Unite believes that by changing perceptions we can tackle some of the wider issues around periods.

“It’s great to see that bosses at Rolls-Royce in Washington have already signed up to our campaign and we urge other employers to follow suit. We want access to sanitary products in the workplace and schools to be as normal as having access to things such as toilet roll.

“We also want to see time called on the unjust situation where sanitary products are considered a luxury item and have VAT charged on them, yet a luxury cream cake is considered essential and is VAT free. It’s high time that the government delivered on its commitment to remove VAT on all sanitary products as soon as possible.”

Unite regional secretary for the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside Karen Reay said: “Unite is leading the way by providing sanitary products in its own toilets at no cost. We are calling on employers to do likewise and follow the lead of Rolls-Royce in Washington by signing up to Unite’s period dignity charter.

“By making changes in our workplaces, our places of education, and in society, women and girls will be able to have a positive period knowing that they are able to access sanitary products.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869
Notes to editors:

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
  • In local government North Ayrshire Council is also leading the way having introduced sanitary products in all of its schools in August 2017. This August the local authority announced that it would be introducing sanitary products to all of the authority's toilets.