BUS drivers say new uniforms have left them feeling the chill this winter.

The group, who work for Transdev-owned Blackburn Bus Company, contacted the Lancashire Telegraph with their woes, saying they were forbidden by bosses to wear extra layers with the new clothing.

They say the new uniform - a shirt, gilet, soft shell-jacket and cagoule - is not adequate for drivers who are in the cold for long periods.

A spokesman for the group said: “The company has re-branded and all employees have been issued with new uniforms.

“Management has forbidden drivers from wearing any other items of clothing such as a warm jumper or coat and we have found that these uniforms are very cold.

"This is very unpleasant when you can be driving for periods of five hours at a time.”

The group also claims that some of the older buses can take as long as three hours to warm up from a cold start in the morning, leaving them sitting in the cold and unable to wrap up.

The spokesman added: “We feel that the management is more concerned with the image of the company and not the health and wellbeing of their drivers, who are an ageing workforce with many health issues which can be affected by the cold.”

Shaun Walmsley, general manager of Blackburn Bus Company, said bosses were disappointed to hear about the issues faced by their drivers.

He said: “We have received no complaints at all from around 1,000 staff who have had our new uniform issued to them.

“We believe that this uniform meets the needs of our staff, and is indeed better than many of our competitors across the industry.

“We reinvest a significant amount of money each year into buying new buses for our customers and staff, and our newer buses have better heaters than ever before.

“If a driver does find that their bus is taking three hours to heat it should be reported as faulty so that it can be rectified, as this is not the norm for our vehicles.

“Whilst this uniform was created with the involvement from our staff we are open to discussions about how it can be improved now it has been issued.”

John Boughton, of Unite the Union, said: “There has been an issue with the uniforms and the company is aware of it.

“This is being dealt with internally and I am not aware of the company enforcing anything on the issue.

“Nor has there been any disciplinary action.”