French Bus Drivers Put on Skirts to Protest Shorts Ban Amidst Heatwave
Things are really heating up in France, especially if you work in public transit.
Amidst a sizzling heat wave in several European countries, bus drivers, particularly male bus drivers, opted to wear skirts for the day on Tuesday when their request to wear shorts to work was turned down by their employer.
In Nantes, a city in western France, bus drivers argued that the sweltering temperatures make wearing long pants miserable, especially while driving during long, hot summer days with no air conditioning.
According to Gabriel Magner, a CFDT union rep for the drivers, as reported by The Local, the busses can reach 50 Celsius, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
“A modern outlook would allow us to wear long shorts from time to time,” said Magner. “This is a form of discrimination. Women drivers can wear skirts, but not the men.”
“Our uniform is not appropriate for these high temperatures. We envy women at moments like this,” said a driver, Didier Sauvetre told the local Presse Ocean news site.
There is nothing prohibiting wearing shorts in France’s labor code, so the decisions on these types of matters come down to the individual companies. The bus company Semitan believes shorts are inappropriate work attire. However, drivers say that people cannot see them fully once they are seated in the cabins. Semitan has issues a trouser in a lighter material for their summer uniform, but drivers still argue that their health may be at stake.
In 2013, bus drivers in Marseille were set to strike over uniform trousers that drivers claimed were too tight and restrictive.
A sweaty bus is no one’s ideal place to be during the summer, so hopefully drivers can find some way to cool off while they work in the heat.