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THE much-maligned work uniform of tailored shorts and long socks is heading for extinction with the ensemble set to be banned from train stations.
Queensland Rail has indicated shorts will not be part of train crews' new uniform when it is rolled out later this year because of safety concerns, including the heightened risk of skin cancer.
The decree has angered the Rail Tram and Bus Union, which has been in consultation with Queensland Rail about the new look.
State secretary Owen Doogan said it was their understanding that the risk assessment of shorts had not found any negative safety outcomes.
"There's been no approach to us about stopping the issue of shorts. That is something we'd be concerned about," said Mr Doogan.
"It's far from necessary for our members to wear long pants, particularly in summer when they're working on a train."
A Queensland Rail spokesman said shorts were likely to be replaced with trousers but other aspects of the new uniform were undecided.
"We're still in the design and consultation phase in regards to fabric and other aspects of the uniform," he said.
"As with any other employer providing uniforms, we endeavour to provide a uniform that is safe and practical whilst at the same time engenders the role of professional train crew."
A Queensland Rail worker coming off shift at Bowen Hills yesterday confirmed any permanent move to long pants would not be popular.
"Most of us are not happy about it," the QR worker said. "When it's summer, it's too hot already and we don't want to wear long pants. It's ridiculous."
The shorts ban by Queensland Rail will leave only cabbies and bus drivers sporting the airy attire - albeit in dwindling numbers.
Bill Parker from Yellow Cabs said although they permitted "tailored shorts and long socks" among their drivers, most preferred long pants.
"In the cab and airconditioning, it doesn't really matter if they wear short or long pants," said Mr Parker.
"But most of our drivers are young and tailored shorts and long socks don't really cut it in modern fashion."
Train drivers have also raised concerns about a planned switch from blue to white clothing, saying the change of colour was impractical and would quickly become dirty and stained, requiring regular replacement.
"Some way to waste taxpayer funds," said a driver, who did not want to be named for fear of losing his job.
Last year, female workers at Queensland Rail were dismayed by new uniforms that became transparent when wet, resulting in a direction from management that they were not to be worn with coloured undergarments.
Queensland Rail was unable to confirm the cost of the new uniforms, believed to be in the vicinity of $3-to-$4 million.
This article first appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au
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