French bus drivers have started wearing skirts to work in protest against an allegedly sexist dress code which has left them sweltering in a heat wave.
Public transport network employees in Nantes, western France, mounted their protest this week as temperatures surged as high as 34C (93F).
They donned skirts after being told that shorts – their preferred alternative – were against the company dress code.
However, the same set of rules allows female employees the far breezier option of wearing a skirt.
Determined to make a point about equality, a group of male drivers put the skirts on and posed for local news cameras on Tuesday:
Speaking to Presse Ocean, a local news site, protest leader Didier Sauvetre hit out at company bosses, who he said spend all day in air-conditioned offices, unlike him.
He said: “We’re asking to be allowed to wear clothes suited to high temperatures. We aren’t allowed to wear shorts. But since the skirt is an authorised outfit, we’re wearing that. It would be discrimination not to wear a skirt.”
Members of the drivers’ union say the dress codes are an absurdity in summer heat waves.
One rep claimed that the temperature inside a bus driving in full sunlight can reach as high as 50C (122F).
They also argued that lower body wear is almost irrelevant anyway, since drivers’ legs are barely ever in view of their passengers anyway.