New Uniform causes Horrific Skin Rashes to Border Staff
Bosses decided to update the uniform of staff who were feeling demoralised after swinging budget cuts
So they splashed out over £3m on new suits to kit out 8,000 border staff
working at ports and airports across Europe.
Instead of cheering staff up many of them have been left with debilitating skin complaints
Experts believe this has been caused by a resin holding the dye together
in the new suits.
Now some of them are suing the Home Office
after they were forced to continue to wear the outfits at work after getting a severe rash.
Last night Lucy Moreton of the ISU - the union representing border staff - said that nearly 3% of all staff had reacted
to the new uniforms.
She said: "This is a disgrace. Not only have they been given rashes but in some cases they have been forced to carry on wearing them
"No other clothing supplier would provide items which had to be washed before they were safe to be worn; and in many cases even this has not proved sufficient."
"If a mainstream clothing supplier or a big supermarket stocked clothing which caused skin reactions
in 3% of wearers the entire batch would be withdrawn
. Workers are entitled to bring a claim if their employer has failed them like this without any prejudice in their future career. This has been a fiasco from start to finish."
Staff were first issued the uniforms in March this year after being ordered in by new Border force boss sir Charles Montgomery
an ex-navy vice Admiral who was keen to make his mark among his staff.
However, when they arrived they smelt of chemicals and had instructions about washing them
but no reason as to why and many staff did this but it soon became apparent there was a problem.
Dozens of staff then contacted the union complaining of severe skin reactions
some akin to chemical burns that appeared soon after wearing the uniforms.
Lucy added: "We had lots of calls coming in. Our members were really suffering but the advice from the management was just to wash them again a few times
. IN some cases this worked but in the most severe cases the symptoms continued and got worse
One guard was unable to wear any clothes for days after being forced to wear the suit repeatedly for work by management
and not being allowed to wear an alternative.
They then had to take time off work and were left with blotchy red patch sores all over their skin
and are now on a high dose steroid cream to try and control the ongoing infection.
Another guard was left with blotchy chemical style burns
across their front and back a week after wearing the uniform despite washing the uniform repeatedly as requested.
Both have been diagnosed with occupational dermatitis
and told they will have future rash outbreaks.
Experts have now identified the likely source as a dye fixative and that the rush delivery meant there was insufficient time to air or wash
the cloth before shipping to remove it.
Last night Emma Costin of Simpson Millar solicitors who is handling claims from border staff on behalf of ISU - the border staff union said: "These staff have suffered terribly through no fault of their own. They have been left with horrific burns just for doing their job
. When management realised there was a problem they should have acted more quickly and not continued to make staff wash and wear their uniforms. These are valid claims that any affected guard can make. Some of our clients were left with horrific injuries and will have lasting affects
for years to come."