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Shorts ban lifted for Stockholm train drivers

Published måndag 10 juni 2013 kl 14.25
"They can still wear women's clothing if they want to"
(2:19 min)
Photo: Private/Sveriges Radio

A shorts ban which led to male train drivers in Stockholm wearing skirts as temperatures soared has been lifted after the news made headlines as far away as Afghanistan.  

"I got an e-mail from Afghanistan from a soldier there who had heard about this, so it's been all over the news,"  says Tomas Hedenius, PR and communications manager for the train company Arriva, to Radio Sweden.

Thirteen male workers on the Roslagsbanan commuter train line north of the capital had been wearing skirts for the past couple of weeks, according to the local paper Mitti.

The heat on the train made skirts a more and more popular choice for the staff, since shorts were forbidden by the employer Arriva, which took over the running of the train line in January. It had banned shorts because they look untidy. But they said they cannot ban the men from wearing the skirts, because that would be gender discrimination.

Martin Åkerston, a train driver wearing a black skirt that reached just below his knees, told Swedish Television news in a piece aired over the weekend, that the only alternative is long pants, and that it gets altogether too warm. Thirty or forty degrees celsius in the train cars, he says.

Basri Veseli, a conductor on the line, said, "it's so warm that you don't have an alternative. You have to go with a skirt," he said.

"It would be nicer with shorts. They're more comfortable," said Sabina Radoukanova, also a conductor.

Martin Åkerston, the train driver, said that skirts can cause problems when you have to climb down on the track to separate the trains.

But now, the company Arriva, has lifted the ban on shorts.

"Obviously we listened and took on board the reactions, so today we decided to speed up the process and offer them shorts," says Tomas Hedenius, PR and communications manager for the company in Sweden, speaking to Radio Sweden today.

Hedenius says it will take some time for the company shorts to be ready, but he says even after, personnel can still wear skirts if they want.

"If they would like to wear women's clothing then that's up to them," he says.

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