Bus drivers strip down to boxers to highlight pay disparity

This week it is employees’ clothes (or lack thereof) that have been getting attention in the workplace. From bus drivers stripping off to candidates wearing the wrong clothes to interviews.

On Wednesday 5 August London bus drivers stripped down to their boxer shorts to (as the press release stated) “make their concerns visible”. While the Employee Benefits Team is not too sure what exactly was made visible on the day, we understand the stunt was to highlight their campaign “Stop the race to the bottom”.

During the campaign the drivers’ union Unite is arguing that the huge disparity in wages, which can vary as much as £10,000 a year between bus companies in London, and variations in other conditions of employment are leading to a “damaging race to the bottom” in service provision. Unite says that bus companies with the lowest costs are winning the contracts to run buses, and those companies that safeguard employment standards are losing out.

Peter Kavanagh, Unite regional industrial organizer, said: “Our slogan may be humorous, but the message is deadly serious. Our drivers do identical jobs, drive the same buses, collect the same fares, and all of their wages come form the same pot – transport for London. Yet their wages can vary by as much as £10,000 a year. The lower payers are dragging everybody else down.”

Proving that clothes can send equally powerful messages when trying to get a job research released by TheLadders.co.uk this week showed that 76% of British bosses would decide against a job candidate because of their clothes.

The study among 500 senior executives flagged up the following:

  • Pink, red and orange are a big NO at interview
  • Forget dangly earrings girls, they’ll see you out of the door
  • Chinos and polo shirt do not make the grade at first meeting
  • Message from bosses, invest at least £300 in a good interview suit

Dress for men who want to get hired (% of respondents agreeing):

  • tailored navy single breasted suit – 51%
  • white or blue long sleeved shirt – 48%
  • black leather shoes – 56%
  • black socks – 77%
  • low key tie – 35%
  • cufflinks – 37%
  • no handkerchief – 35%

Dress to avoid for men who want to get hired (% of respondents agreeing):

  • no tie – 52%
  • no jacket – 50%
  • chinos – 50%
  • polo shirts – 66%
  • jeans – (82%
  • T shirts – 88%
  • leather jackets – 70%

For women who want to get hired (% of respondents agreeing):

  • a mid-length black skirt or dress – 64%
  • long sleeved and collared shirt or blouse – 42%
  • tights – 94%
  • high heels – 69%
  • pearls – 56%

Dress to avoid for women who want to get hired (% of respondents agreeing):

  • short skirt – 60%
  • low necklines – 95%
  • sports shoes – 91%
  • dangling jewellery – 99%
  • bare legs – 94%
  • shoulder pads and eighties power dressing – 97%

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