Union pushes Sunderland employers to back period dignity call

A move which will ensure women are given understanding and support during their period has been welcomed by campaigners.

Friday, 8th February 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th February 2019, 11:30 pm
Unite and Everyone Active partnership on new women campaign. From left, Unite Secretary John Kelly, Unite shop steward Kevin Johnston, staff Danielle Atkin, Kelly Holland and Everyone Active manager Ian Bradgate.

Unite is calling on employers across Wearside to back its Period Dignity At Work appeal, which urges bosses to make sure sanitary products are available to workers and get across that a better understanding will reduce days lost though menstruation and boost morale and wellbeing.

Sunderland City Council has agreed to adopt the approach, which will see it supply products in its buildings and schools.

John Kelly, Unite branch secretary covering the council, welcomed the authority’s support.

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He said: “I’m extremely pleased that Sunderland City Council have committed to support the Unite Period Dignity Campaign and roll it out across all of the civic sites including schools.

“Period dignity is something, which should not be swept under the carpet.

“When it comes to dignity you cannot make compromises.”

The decision to adopt the union’s stance follows on from the agreement of Everyone Active, which runs sports complexes on behalf of the council.

Ian Bradgate, Everyone Active contract manager in Sunderland, said: “Everyone Active is delighted to be backing Unites Period Dignity at Work campaign.

“As an employer, we want to make sure that sanitary products are freely available and feel that something so natural should not be a concern for any of our female colleagues.

“We are happy that Unite has approached us with this and given us the opportunity to get on board with something that we feel all employers should be backing.”

Everyone Active manages Sunderland Aquatic Centre, Silksworth Sports Complex and Ski Slope, Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis & Wellness Centre, Raich Carter Sports Centre, Bunny Hill Wellness Centre, Houghton Sports and Wellness Centre, Washington Leisure Centre and Hetton Community Pool and Wellness Centre.

The Unite campaign is looking at a change in attitude, to ensure periods are not an embarrassing issue for anyone; calling on employers to provide products as the norm in all workplaces; for places of education to provide sanitary products for students and employees so that education does not suffer; pushing for the 5% VAT to be removed from all sanitary products as they are deemed a luxury item and to support period poverty campaign groups.

More can be found via unitetheunion.org/perioddignity.