Categories RecentWork and employment

Rolls-Royce turbo charges period dignity campaign

Unite praised Rolls-Royce for ‘leading the way’ after the engineering giant gave its backing to the union’s period dignity campaign by agreeing to provide sanitary products at no cost in toilets across its operations in 50 countries around the globe.

Rolls-Royce, which has its headquarters in the UK, is the first multi-national company to make a global commitment. It comes after bosses at the Rolls-Royce plant in Washington, Tyne and Wear signed up locally to the campaign and then supported Unite representatives in raising the initiative with senior management.

Unite is urging other employers to follow Rolls-Royce’s lead to ensure that women and girls have period dignity. 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.

Unite convenor at the Rolls-Royce facility in Washington, Gary Andrews, who spearheaded the initiative in the company, said:

In today’s world no woman should feel uncomfortable about their period. It has been a taboo subject for too many years.

So, it is fantastic news that Rolls-Royce will be giving its global backing to Unite’s period dignity campaign and be providing sanitary products in toilets across its operations around the world at no cost.

Unite national officer for equalities, Siobhan Endean said:

Rolls-Royce should be praised for this progressive step and leading the way in being the first global company to sign up to Unite’s period dignity charter.

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. 

We would urge other employers to follow Rolls-Royce’s lead in backing period dignity in the workplace.

Suzanne Reid, launched Unite’s period dignity campaign in  November 2018 with this film.   Here she explains that no woman or girl has a choice about whether to have a period and sanitary products can be a significant expense, especially for those on low incomes.

This can lead to period poverty, meaning that girls miss school because they can’t afford them. She draws attention to the fact that VAT is payable on towels and tampons as they are considered a luxury item, whilst cakes remain VAT free.

You can find out more about the campaign and join Unite the Union here.

Photo and film: Unite the Union