French bus drivers slip into skirts for work to denounce shorts ban amid sizzling heatwave

Bus drivers in the western French city of Nantes have sported skirts to work to show bosses their anger over being banned from wearing shorts despite the punishing heatwave.

French bus drivers slip into skirts for work to denounce shorts ban amid sizzling heatwave
Photo: Screengrab Presse Ocean

UPDATE: French bus drivers win right to wear shorts after pulling skirt stunt


A sweaty bus in any big city in France is not the place to be right now, given the heatwave that is currently baking much of the country.

So spare a though for drivers, particularly those in the western city of Nantes, which have had their request to wear shorts to work turned down.

The bus drivers denounced unacceptable conditions of work and made their point by wearing skirts for the day on Tuesday.

“Our uniform is not appropriate for these high temperatures. We envy women at moments like this,” said Didier Sauvetre a driver from the CFDT union told the local Presse Ocean news site.

“Given that skirts are an authorized outfit in the company, we are wearing skirts,” he said.

“A modern outlook would allow us to wear long shorts from time to time. This is a form of discrimination. Women drivers can wear skirts, but not the men,” said Gabriel Magner, another union rep.

“In this heatwave, the temperatures are reaching close to 50C behind our windscreens. And given we have no air conditioning on our buses, it’s unbearable,” he added.

Although there is nothing in France’s labour code that bars workers from wearing shorts, the decision often comes down to the company and depends on the type of job. The labour code does say workers can down tools if they believe their health is in danger due to working conditions.

The bus company Semitan however believes shorts are not appropriate for the work of a bus driver.

However drivers say once they are locked inside the driver’s cabins no one can see them anyway.

Semitan did take a step towards a compromise in summer last year when it rolled out a new line in “summer trousers” for drivers, that were lighter. But there’s still no sign of them agreeing to shorts.

This is not the first time bus drivers in France have complained about their uniforms.

In April 2013 The Local reported how bus drivers in Marseille were set to strike because of restrictive working conditions – in other words their trousers were too tight.

“I won’t be wearing them,” one Marseille bus-driver said at the time. “You’d think we work for [car repair company] Speedy! The shirts are alright, but these pants are far too tight,” he added.

“We reject the bottom half of this uniform,” added a union chief.




French ‘have more sex while working from home’, poll claims

For most people working from home means rarely changing out of PJs and spending a lot of time on zoom calls - but respondents to one French poll said for them it's an opportunity to have more sex.

French 'have more sex while working from home', poll claims
A change from the classic work-from-home outfit of pyjamas. Photo: AFP

A poll conducted by Ifop for extra-marital dating site Gleeden reported one third of respondents (34 percent) saying they had had sex during working hours while on télétravail (home working) and one third of people said they had more desire for their partner since the second lockdown in October.

In total 18 percent of people said they are having more sex now than they did before the pandemic.

“I've got into the habit, since I've been working at home, of taking a little nap in the middle of the day,” web designer Tomas told Le Parsien, “and my girlfriend often joins me”.

“Sometimes we even warm up beforehand with very explicit messages. In the end, it doesn't take us long, we are very relaxed afterwards and just as efficient when we get back behind our screens to work. Frankly, it's better than a cigarette break in the cold outside the office.”
The trend was particularly marked among couples with children, when working hours have become time spent together at home without the children around.
“Unlike in the spring, the children are at school and without our travel time, our days are longer,” said Sophie, a civil servant based in Strasbourg, who works two days a week at home with her husband.
However, some of the participants told pollsters that lockdown and working from home had lead to a drop in morale and libido, while others said being with their partners all day dampened their desire.
The French government still recommends télétravail for those who can, but in January released an updated protocol adding extra days in office for those who wanted them, recognising the impact of loneliness and isolation on many home-workers.
The poll – entitled The sexual and emotional life of the French during the second lockdown – was carried out on 2,017 over-18s between November 24th and 30th.