Anger at plan to use bikini-clad women to recruit lorry drivers
- Credit: PA
A haulage boss has defended his plan to use bikini-clad women to recruit lorry drivers, despite female industry figures branding the idea "sexist" and "embarrassing".
Adam Giles, boss of Felixstowe-based BWN Driver Management Group, is planning to use women dressed in bikinis to hold signs advertising his company at the roadside near the Port of Felixstowe.
Mr Giles admitted the stunt was sexist but said it was "tongue in cheek" and that he hoped it would help him "stand out from the crowd a little bit".
He insisted that he had tried everything else to recruit truck drivers but had failed because of a shortage caused by Brexit and the pandemic.
He continued: "I'm not interested in fighting the sexism battle, I'm just interested in covering my workload is the truth of it.
"I'm not getting into the politics of anything at all. It is as clear cut as a driver is driving down the road, how do you quickly get his attention?
"It is what is. As far as I can see sex is a tool to be used. People use sex to sell every day, every advert."
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He added the idea was suggested by an advertising company but said he did not recall the name of the firm.
Caron Craft, transport manager at Penta GB, described the plan as "sexist" and "totally inappropriate".
She said: "I find it very offensive. If they do this there will be an uproar.
"It's pathetic. Surely nobody would take them seriously? It's embarrassing if they do that. It's marking the industry as far as I'm concerned.
"I give my life to this job and work 24/7. What they're planning to do is just saying 'this is all women are good for'. Well no we're bloody not.
"I just think it's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous."
Kate Gibbs, head of media and communications for the Road Haulage Association, was also outraged by the idea.
She said: "I am at a loss as to understand why, or indeed how, the person who has come up with this idea thinks this will help recruit truck drivers?
"The days of ‘page three attraction’ are past. Yes, there is a massive, nationwide driver shortage at the moment, exacerbated both by Brexit and Covid-19. But it’s unlikely that these bikinied ladies are sufficiently knowledgeable about the industry to give career advice and information.
"The RHA is doing all it possibly can to highlight the issue with government to make more funding available to educate and train women as well as men. We are already working hard to attract women into the industry – this social stereotyping will only act as a deterrent.
"We need solutions, not gimmicks."