The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) security department has issued a mandatory physical training (EP) circular for all its security personnel.
This “apparently well-intentioned” circular, however, infuriated female security guards as it made it mandatory for everyone, including women, to wear khaki shorts and a white vest for PT sessions. Refusing to follow the dress code, the women appealed to higher authorities to change the dress code as most of them are not comfortable wearing shorts or a white short-sleeved vest in the workplace. .
While the circular made the dress code mandatory for all who seek “equality”, the female guards now want higher authorities to replace it with the previous dress code of T-shirt and sweatpants.
There are 83 female security guards in TMC’s security department. Apart from that, there are those who provide security on a contractual basis to civic properties.
The circular, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, said: “For the physical and mental well-being of the security forces, a parade and physical training session will be held every Saturday at 6.45 a.m. at the headquarters of the TMC. Dress code for PT will be khaki shorts, white vest, canvas shoes and khaki socks. The sessions will be held in the first floor lobby of the TMC headquarters in Panchpakhadi. To maintain uniformity and equality, the dress code must be strictly adhered to. No other dress codes, including sweatpants or t-shirts, will be permitted.
The circular was published on June 3. On Wednesday, some of the female guards went to meet relevant authorities to remove the dress code for women.
A sitter who declined to be named said: ‘We also had PT sessions earlier, until February 12, after which they were discontinued for some reason. Previously we had a t-shirt and sweatpants for the sessions we were comfortable in. However, the current dress code is khaki shorts and a white vest, which is more in line with a male uniform. Most of us aren’t comfortable wearing punches in the TMC offices and should be allowed to wear sweatpants. We therefore did not attend the first session. We appealed to the higher authorities to remove the mandatory dress code.
A security department officer denied that there was any coercion. “The order was for the June 4 session, which was cancelled. We get company uniforms that we give our guards to wear. Shorts and vest were the only uniforms and accordingly the circular was issued. The dress code in the circular will be rectified for the next sessions.
GG Godepure, Deputy City Commissioner for Safety, said: “I have learned that a circular making said dress code mandatory is being issued. I have not seen the circular but will call the relevant official to discuss the matter. We cannot impose such a dress code on our employees and we will do what is necessary.