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asked to breastfeed in the toilets on train!!

(207 Posts)
Channicholls Wed 26-Jun-13 13:30:08

i was on a northern rail train yesterday with my 3 month old daughter. she required feeding. I was sat behind my pram and no one could see what I was doing.

When the ticket collector came to check tickets he asked if I could do what I was doing in the toilets. I responded by saying 'what breastfeeding' and he said yes. I told him I was fine where I was and didn't move and he left it. during the whole exchange he had his hand up and was making faces as though what I was doing was perverse.

I was really embarrassed and left feeling extremely uncomfortable and with everyone in the carriage watching me.

I called Northern rail today to make a complaint and was told by them that there was nothing they could do and its down to personal preference of conductors.

what are my next steps? I feel like I was treated badly and that this shouldn't be allowed by such a large company (or anyone for that matter).

DoodleAlley Sat 29-Jun-13 09:50:24

A proper acceptance of culpability or errors seems noticeably absent.

In my books that means its not an apology!

scratchandsniff Sat 29-Jun-13 09:58:57

The conductor was concerned that two teenagers were watching you and thought you'd be embarrassed, so 'offered' you use of the 'washroom'. What a load of bollocks! I'm pretty sure you can tell the difference between someone suggesting something or insisting.

Witt Sat 29-Jun-13 10:13:42

If the conductor was trying to be nice and offer somewhere quieter to BF more comfortably then he'd have suggested somewhere emptier such as first class surely rather than a cramped unhygenic loo. I'm not buying it.

SuffolkNWhat Sat 29-Jun-13 10:14:05

So we have a conductor who was predicting offense where there was none to be had?

Just like those councils who rename Christmas when no one has ever complained nor would find offense.

Not acceptable.

Jojobump1986 Sat 29-Jun-13 10:23:21

Never mind the content of the email (although, <arf> at the sucking up to MN - clearly he predicted the email would be posted here!) Is it annoying when someone asks a question & then answers it themselves? Yes, it is. I'll go back to lurking in Pedant's Corner now...!

Witt Sat 29-Jun-13 10:39:31

I have spoken to the team in Customer Relations and they deny saying that they said that it was the Conductor’s discretion whether to permit breastfeeding on their train. Of course, this would be a strange thing to say, because the law is the law and they have been trained in the requirements of the Equality Act. The training was obviously not effective and he needs to ensure re-training is done for all staff. Actually, did the original training even cover breastfeeding? I bet it didn't.

Maybe Pete would like to come into Mumsnet Towers and do a chat with us about breastfeeding on trains and other issues parents face taking children on trains? Nice chance for him to get some firsthand feedback!

Witt Sat 29-Jun-13 10:44:01

Also, surely CR phone calls are recorded. Can't they go back and listen to it??

wafflingworrier Sat 29-Jun-13 11:27:21

i used to work in a company that recorded all telephone conversations and it was a right bugger to find them BUT it was company policy to find the recordings as SOON as a complaint was raised. i would imagine their policy is similar and they have either listened to the conversation and are now covering their backs, or have lost the recording. in which case it's THEIR fault. you can by law ask for a copy of the recorded conversation.i would do so, just because their "apology" is so crap.

im sorry you are having to go through this. well done for complaining and for refusing to go into the toilet.

I actually like the apology and would be happy with that. he said a briefing is going out to staff which is what this is really about IMO. I expect the conductor has learnt his lesson and hopefully the cr person too. so job done in my book and well done op for raising it.

Witt Sat 29-Jun-13 17:58:14

I don't like the apology. There is something cold about it that comes across as "I'm only apologising because I have to" and "we are only allowing breastfeeding because we are legally obliged"

MummyOfSunbeam Sun 30-Jun-13 12:15:59

I agree with the others who aren't quite satisfied w the 'apology' - I do hope they sort their training out fast though.

Channicholls Mon 08-Jul-13 14:28:28

daily mail published the story, some of the comments are horrible!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2356952/Breastfeeding-mother-humiliated-train-conductor-told-to-toilet-feed-daughter.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Channicholls Mon 08-Jul-13 14:30:38

also Pete myers told my aunt that they do not record telephone conversations when he responded to her email about the customer service team.

Quilty Wed 10-Jul-13 09:08:22

Was this the story on Breaskfast news today? Sounded like the same situation, if so well done!! thanks

Mate, it's the mail. Unfortunately some of their readers are stuck in the century before last!! Or are just stupid. You did get some great comments though.

Have to say my personal favourite was that MNers should wear a badge in case people accidentally sit next to us - we may infect them with notbeinganarseholeitis grin

Well done you for publicising this, Northern conductors are so hit and miss. Some are fantastic (the one when I was pregnant and fainted who looked after me until my friend met me, then kept an eye on me whenever he was on my train) but unfortunately an equal number are awful - complaining about DD being too noisy on a train (she was 3 months old) or saying I'm not allowed on a train with DD in her pushchair.

Channicholls Wed 10-Jul-13 21:28:56

Hi guys, yes that was me on the breakfast show, think it went quite well considering I was terrified lol

HomeHelpMeGawd Thu 11-Jul-13 08:29:40

Channi, I thought you would want to watch this brilliant, wonderful poem, which is going viral right now.

www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/07/05/hollie-mcnish-breastfeeding_n_3552062.html

Would be great if Pete watched it too!

MostlyCake Thu 11-Jul-13 10:12:54

Ignore the DM comments! I always imagine trolls like that sitting sadly in their string vests and pants, alone in cold little rooms with no friends, no life and with their computer monitor flecked with spittle.

Good on you for pushing this!!

Chocibuttons Thu 11-Jul-13 12:28:15

Wow only just found this thread, well done!!! This sort of thing makes my blood boil. Still think we need a conclusion. What change have Northern Rail implemented? Have have the staff in question been dealt with?

K8Middleton Thu 11-Jul-13 12:54:12

That "apology" is poor. Firstly the idea that breast feeding should need privacy. It doesn't because there is nothing that is shameful or needs to be hidden.

Secondly the bollox about complaints being in writing and then the complete hash of The Equality Act. Would they require a complaint in writing from someone with a condition that means they have difficulty writing due to disability or because they are foreign? It's all rubbish customer service.

Amazing that reply manages to show ignorance of three of the protected characteristics covered by the Act. There are only 7 (iirc) so that's pretty impressive to fail so many.

All employees should have equality and diversity training because even if they don't deal with the public they deal with people as colleagues or business contacts.

As for the general complaint handling, well, it was pretty shit. Rule #1 is always check you have the right person! I've had junior staff who are better at handling complaints.

Hope you get a proper apology op and that the rail company gives some proper training to all their staff. Showy's experience is what they should be aiming for as a gold standard.

Bringbring Thu 11-Jul-13 13:00:11

Poor apology. The conductor was not some knight in shining order he was an ignorant twat.

It's endemic arse covering from northern rail, from top to bottom.

Northern FAIL

K8Middleton Thu 11-Jul-13 13:20:15

Oh and the investigation, where he doesn't actually speak to the customer involved? What a joke.

No wonder Northern Rail has so many customer complaints.

JumpingJacks Thu 11-Jul-13 13:23:49

Channicholls - You did brilliantly on BBC breakfast! Well done on being brave enough to take it that far. smile

TanglednotTamed Thu 11-Jul-13 13:32:50

Love the idea of inviting Pete on to MN for a webchat. So much so that I am going to report my own post in order to suggest it.

ThingummyBob Thu 11-Jul-13 13:33:45

Channi your dd is so cute grin

Am disgusted by some of those comments on the mail site. Shows what ignorant dickheads they are.

Well done on standing your ground thanks

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