Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

Staff row over 'see-through' blouses

Published 18/02/2009

Women railway workers have been getting shirty over new uniforms by refusing to wear blouses because they claimed they were too see-through, it was revealed today.

Female staff on National Express's East Coast line between London and Edinburgh said the new blouses were too thin and "left little to the imagination" of passengers.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association said its members had sent the blouses back to the company and demanded new ones which were not see-through.

Union official Brian Brock said National Express chief executive Richard Bowker was famous for not wearing jackets or ties, adding: "But he doesn't wear see-through shirts and we don't see why our female members should wear see-through blouses.

"The blouses are simply too thin and too cheap. This is yet another example of National Express cutting costs at every corner."

A National Express spokesman said: "We have undertaken wearer trials for the past six months and this issue did not arise. We will of course change the fabric of the shirts if there is a problem. We are now liaising with the manufacturer."

The union said National Express was introducing new uniforms for all staff on its East Coast franchise, which it took over 15 months ago from GNER. Staff are still wearing the old GNER uniforms, said the TSSA.

The union said National Express employs more than 500 women as catering staff and ticket inspectors on the busy East Coast line which carries 17 million passengers a year.

"All the female staff take a pride in their work and this is reflected in their existing uniforms which are smart and professional," added Mr Brock.

"All they want is for their new uniforms to be equally smart and professional."

The row over new uniforms is the latest dispute to hit the firm. It has already been criticised by unions for announcing plans to cut jobs and reduce opening hours at 12 ticket offices.

Mr Brock, the union's senior Northern regional organiser, added: "The sooner National Express realise that they have to run a top-class rail service if they want to attract and retain passengers the better.

"Cost-cutting penny pinching measures are self defeating. They will drive away passengers and eventually be unable to afford to pay government the £1.4 billion franchise premium."

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