Uniform Committee meeting update.
At a uniform committee meeting last week, attended by Debbie Reay and myself for ASLEF the following were some of the issues raised;
The ‘Here to Help’ phrase proposed for all uniforms will not now be added to the new uniforms after pressure from ASLEF, we argued it would be at the detriment of our members being asked to help in line with the purpose of the ‘Here to Help’ slogan as we’re required to change ends and move trains in a timely manner thus leading to delays and confrontations where not necessary.
The current use of the red tabards and proposed future uniform clothing is still ongoing, LU argue passengers wear red so why is it an issue. We made the case that red can interfere with the operation of the railway, one example we gave was detrainment staff who were wearing red as well as a number of passengers, maybe football fans. If this was the case how would the train operator know it was a member of staff closing the doors and not a passenger? This issue is still ongoing and the awarding of the tender is still outstanding but isn’t far away either.
Staff side argued the removal of a button on the polo shirt collar (there’s now 2 where there were 3) and pocket wasn’t in the interests of operational staff and asked that this be put back. Management said the problem was the proposed introduction of a more breathable fabric means the garment may not be strong enough to hold what goes in the pocket! Again, this is ongoing.
While the removal of the ‘Here to Help’ phrase was welcome LU are looking to introduce ‘every journey matters’ in the roundel instead, in the white circle section – we said this was totally unnecessary as the slogan changes, today its every journey matters before it was every second counts. It would also add nothing but cost to the uniform.
Attempts to address reports of itchy clothing have been made. The introduction of the new uniform, while not major in design is attempting to use more comfortable, breathable and less itchy material.
The intended new uniform shoes have now completed trial, there were approximately 80 members of staff involved and the returned survey forms are undergoing review. We said the number of participants was a minute percentage of the front line staff and while the survey was ongoing to then go ahead and order shoes before staff side have had a chance to review those comments and add our own is not acceptable. It was agreed that the survey findings will be captured in a review workshop where staff side will be present. The contract for procurement is to be issued imminently and we insisted this not be done before the survey was completed and any further suggestions be considered if required. Assurances were given the shoes will be independently checked to ensure they contain no metal and are of appropriate leather.
We also asked that a second pair of uniform shoes be issued to all front line staff. We made the case that LU require us to wear the uniform issued footwear yet when working long periods without a rest day, or in inclement weather the shoes don’t get a change to ‘breath’, we argued this doesn’t allow for the shoe to dry out as is recommended and recognised as a way to maintain foot hygiene. Our request for a second pair of shoes to be issued at the same time as the first, on the basis that LU requires us to wear their footwear was refused, however, a common sense approach was reached. Where 2 pairs of shoes are issued in any two year period, should a further pair be required / requested then the request could be made. In this case the member of staff may be required to explain why they required more than the allowance of 1 pair every 12 months. We also made the case that people wear shoes differently so last different for differing periods of times.
Once the shoe contract it awarded it will take up to 6 months for enough shoes to be provided before a roll out to staff can begin.