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Taking redundancy personally.

Thursday, March 13, 2003
Dress Down Every Day

As if the Job Centre wasn’t having enough problems choosing a new colour scheme in their upgrading to JobCentrePlus, their staff are revolting, and that’s just the clothes they wear!

Matthew Thompson is claiming a ‘victory for common sense’ in his tribunal with the Department for Work and Pensions. When the DWP took over the running of Employment Office, now JobCentrePlus, in June last year, they imposed a new dress code. This resulted in men being required to wear a collar and tie and women able to wear t-shirts. Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services Union general secretary, said "The application of the dress code was clearly discriminatory and we welcome the tribunal's decision. It should never have been introduced in the first place.”

The response from DWP was that they consider the dress code to be an important part of their improved service. Which doesn’t explain why the rules were different for men and women.

In my last employment, I was required to wear ‘smart business dress’ which translated to collar and tie for men, and frankly anything except gym clothes for women. I’ve never felt that my performance is enhanced my wearing a suit, nor that it would be impaired by being smart casual in the office.

As most people experience, the air conditioning in our building caused further problems as we were required to have various garments in the office ready to counteract the varied temperatures the air con would create. Smart business dress often extended to jumpers, scarves and gloves.

There is nothing quite as professional as someone fumbling the phone receiver with their gloves before speaking in muffled tones through their scarf.