16 November 2020
RMT Press Office:
RMT demands withdrawal of patronising and hypocritical Hi Vis cleaning vests issued to Great Western Railway cleaners
RAIL UNION RMT today demanded the withdrawal of Hi Vis vests issued to Great Western Railway cleaners employed by Servest emblazoned with the words "GWR Cleaning Heroes" which the union says are both patronising and hypocritical as they imply that the staff are direct GWR employees and well looked after when in fact they are contracted out and have to fight every inch on pay and conditions.
The letter to the company from General Secretary Mick Cash says;
“I write with regards to the above matter and to raise my grave concerns over your company’s decision to introduce High Visibility Vests with the words ‘GWR Cleaning Heroes’ written on the back, prior to any consultations taking place with my Union Representatives.
“The RMT believes this ‘statement’ is not only patronising and totally inappropriate but will also expose my members to abuse and ridicule. Therefore, I demand that the HV vests are withdrawn immediately and that your company consult with my Representatives before any replacements are sourced.
“The HV vests are personal protective equipment (PPE) 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. Why anybody believed that this was an acceptable ‘statement’ to place on PPE is outrageous.
“I trust you will give this matter your urgent attention and that you will immediately withdraw the HV vests and consult with my Representatives in the hope of agreeing to a suitable alternative.”