Clerk suspended

AN airport check-in clerk fears he could lose his job after he was suspended on full pay - allegedly for wearing too much hair gel.John Graham, who works on the Ryanair check-in desk at Stansted Airport, was ordered home because he claims bosses were appalled by his gelled Mohican hairstyle.

AN airport check-in clerk fears he could lose his job after he was suspended on full pay - allegedly for wearing too much hair gel.

John Graham, who works on the Ryanair check-in desk at Stansted Airport, was ordered home because he claims bosses were appalled by his gelled Mohican hairstyle.

The 20-year-old, from Great Dunmow, claims to have an unblemished record with his employers, Swissport, which runs ground-handling operations for the Irish no-frills airline.

His union, the GMB, said he had sported the punk look for much of his two-and-a-half years with Swissport, but had not received a single complaint from passengers.


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However, last week, the £12,000-a-year clerk agreed with a Swissport manager to reduce the amount of gel in his hair, the GMB said.

But on Thursday, he was suspended on full pay “for failing to comply with uniform appearance standards”.

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The GMB said four of Mr Graham's Swissport colleagues turned up to work yesterday also sporting Mohicans in protest at the plight of their comrade, who is shop steward with the union.

Mr Graham is due to have a disciplinary hearing next week, but Gary Pearce, GMB organiser, said the 20-year-old's job was on the line.

He said: “Swissport are victimising this young man. The Mohican is not like the 1970s style, it's not that long.

“The Swissport dress code mentions something about excess gel, but it's ambiguous.

“He's had his hairstyle for ages and only now are his employers complaining about it. He has an exemplary record and there have been no warnings.

“Their treatment of his is outrageous - normally staff are only suspended for gross misconduct like fighting or stealing.

“He conformed to a Swissport request and yet he is now suspended.”

A spokesman for Swissport confirmed one of its staff had been suspended for “failing to comply with uniform appearance standards”.

He added: “As expected operating in a customer service role, Swissport places great importance on the behaviour and appearance of all its staff and naturally expects reasonable standards to be maintained.

“Uniform standards, which are required by Swissport and the company's client airlines, are published to all staff and form part of the terms of employment.

“In addition to the published standards, appearance and grooming is included in the induction and training course given to all staff.”

He said the case would now follow normal disciplinary procedures.

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