French bus drivers in Marseille are to strike because their new uniform trousers are too tight.
The 1,600 workers at the RTM public transport company have announced their plans for a 24-hour walkout in June over the quality, colour and fit of the trousers.
The colour of their work shirts has also changed from yellow to lavender, but union leaders are angered by the close-fitting bottoms.
Bernard Gargiolo, leader of the CGT transport union, said: ‘We reject the bottom half of this new uniform, which is the same colour as the Gendarmes [French police] wear.
‘The employees don’t want to wear a uniform that was chosen unilaterally by the management, without taking into account the views of our clothing committee.’
And one bus driver told the city’s La Provence newspaper: ‘I won’t be wearing them. They make us look like we work for the Speedy! car repair company.
‘The shirts are alright, but these trousers are far too tight.’
The new uniform’s designer Jonathan Charles defended his creation, adding: ‘People are saying they look like clowns. Well, that was already the case with the old outfits.’
France has the most strikes in Europe, though former president Nicolas Sarkozy decreed that public transport workers must give a 48-hour warning before a walkout or face sanctions.
Unions say this is to suppress the strike from gaining momentum among other workers by making them wait to join in, and makes it easier for employers to keep watch over employees.
Between 2005 and 2009, the country lost 132 days per 1,000 workers to strike action.
Around the world, only Canada and South Africa outdo the French in their willingness to walk out.
Read more: Mail Online