Rail union hits out at ‘patronising’ message on vests of cleaning staff

14th of December 2020
Rail union hits out at ‘patronising’ message on vests of cleaning staff

A rail union chief has criticised railway managers for equipping its cleaning staff with high-visibility vests bearing a "patronising" message.

Cleaning operatives at Great Western Railway have been issued with vests on which the words: "GWR Cleaning Heroes" are emblazoned on the back. But RMT general secretary Mick Cash described the vests as "patronising", adding that they could also expose staff members to abuse and ridicule.

He also expressed concern at the fact that the vests were introduced without any union consultation. In a letter to Great Western Railway, Cash wrote: "The HV vests are personal protective equipment and should protect staff against health and safety risks at work.

"Your company's choice of wording on the back of these HV vests does not provide any safe assurances to the staff expected to wear them. Therefore, I demand that the HV vests are withdrawn immediately and that your company consult with my representatives before any replacements are sourced."

He added that the vests could be seen as hypocritical because they imply that the cleaning staff are rail company employees, when in fact they are contracted ‎out and employed by Servest.

GWR, a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup, manages 197 stations and serves more than 270 nationwide.



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