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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).

Quangle Wed 26-Jun-13 13:32:44

bloody hell. The personal preference of the conductors? And if they personally prefer that you dance round a maypole with flowers in your hair would you have to do that too?


That's disgusting! Ask them if they'd eat their dinner in the loo!

stinkyfluffycat Wed 26-Jun-13 13:34:20

Someone who actually knows will be along shortly but I'm pretty sure you have a legal right to breastfeed wherever you bloody well want to (I may be wrong but if that isn't true it should be).

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 26-Jun-13 13:35:12

Pursue your complaint, involve NCT, LLL, your HV, local press, etc. Find out who their CEO / MD is and get on Twitter / Facebook.

What he was asking you to do was illegal and it may be discriminatory on
Northern Rail's part not to pursue this. It is NOT down to personal preference.

BF is protected by law. Northern Rail receive public money to provide a service. Disgusted on your behalf.

poshme Wed 26-Jun-13 13:37:48
Cravingdairy Wed 26-Jun-13 13:38:13

Breastfeed in a train toilet! shock

I think the recommendation on here is often take to Twitter or email the managing director...depends what you want from them though to be honest. I think it's pretty disgusting (not to mention quite possibly illegal) to tell someone where to breastfeed. as far as I'm aware In the UK you can breastfeed anywhere you're allowed to take a baby...if you'd been bottle feeding would he have asked you to do that in the toilet? (most of which on trains are vile) no, because it's disgusting and IMO so was his attitude. it's no wonder there's such a low rate of breastfed babies in this country with ignorant twats like that about. you're entitled to feed your baby wherever you need to...and if you want to take the complaint further and get some retraining in (or arrange a MN mass-breastfeed on his next shift) then I'm sure you'll get a lot of support on here, myself included. but personally I don't have the balls and I'd probably just laugh it off and try not to let it stop me feeding wherever DD needed feeding

MummyOfSunbeam Wed 26-Jun-13 13:39:17

In Scotland that would be illegal - we have a law saying anyone can bf a child up to the age if two anywhere that they already have a right to be (cumbersome language but good it exists). I am sure in England even if no law a company should respond better to this - actually equalities legislation occurs to me.

I am so sorry you encountered this IDIOT. I would have wanted to ask if he wanted to eat in the toilets and if not then why a baby should!

dragongirlx Wed 26-Jun-13 13:39:52

Under the Eqauality Act 2010 it is unlawful to discriminate against a women who is breastfeeding.
If you are breastfeeding your baby anywhere and asked to move this is unlawful discrimination. By allowing the train conductor to this they are encouraging discrimination.
I would get back in touch with the train company and let them know this and say if you don't recieve a satisfactory response you will be pursuing it further.

dragongirlx Wed 26-Jun-13 13:40:07


Why doesn't someone find out the email address and name of the CEO. If that was posted here, I bet an Army of MN would contact him / her with their thoughts on the matter. I saw this happen a year or so ago with a complaint about a John Lewis delivery - someone came on to apologise, and the issue was quickly resolved.

Sorry that you had to put up with that OP.

Dackyduddles Wed 26-Jun-13 13:42:23

I can't link but yes it's illegal. I do not understand why firms don't know this!

Quilty Wed 26-Jun-13 13:43:04

Awful awful awful! Train toilets are about the most disgusting place I could imagine bf in! Definitely need to make a serious complaint, don't let this ignorant twat get away with speaking to you like that!

HomeHelpMeGawd Wed 26-Jun-13 13:50:16

Northern Rail is owned by Serco and Abellio.

The men who are the managing director and CCO are here

Serco serves the NHS extensively. It is run by these men (and one female NED)

Abellio is run by these men, these men and these men

Antediluvian isn't the half of it....

I think a Twitterstorm is your best bet to effect change at Northern Rail. You need to get it picked up by a big name.

RoooneyMara Wed 26-Jun-13 13:51:30

You're right, it shouldn't be allowed.

I wonder if it is against the law in the same way it is to ask someone to stop BFing in a restaurant etc

RoooneyMara Wed 26-Jun-13 13:54:14

sorry, masses of x posts! blush

To sum up I'd say that I wouldn't even go to the TOILET in a train toilet, let alone try and feed a small baby.

And if they want people to do that they should bloody well clean them.

Channicholls Wed 26-Jun-13 13:54:42

The CEO is Ian Bevan but I can't find how to contact directly.

there is a customer relations email but it was the customers relations contact number we used when our complaint was dismissed. :S

Channicholls Wed 26-Jun-13 13:56:03

i don't have twitter, but my aunt has posted on my behalf but isn't sure how to get it noticed. lol

any advice?

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 14:00:18

Completely beside the point but train toilets are usually tiny/cramped/filthy and often have no seat lid so you would a) have to sit on the actually toilet seat bit b) you end up rocking all over the place if the train is going fast, c) they are usually disgusting and d) they are well taking the piss!

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 14:03:46

They reply on Facebook, you cannot write a comment but you can comment of a post if that makes sense.

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 14:05:56

I have just had a look on twitter and can't see a tweet to them about breastfeeding.

Abra1d Wed 26-Jun-13 14:08:06

Perhaps next time the buffet's full they could suggest that people take their coffee and sandwiches into the toilet. Might as well make it a useful eating place for everyone and not just reserve it for BFing.

Channicholls Wed 26-Jun-13 14:08:32

they have replied to twitter post. saying they looking into it. :-$

sydenhamhiller Wed 26-Jun-13 14:14:22

I am so angry about this...Definitely need a twitter storm about this. How is it OK to sell newspapers with Page 3 girls, but not breastfeed in public.

Channicholls Wed 26-Jun-13 14:15:05

@aerial_emma wrote it.

and tweet was

@northernrailorg requested my niece #breastfeed #baby in toilets on #uk #train. called to complain and was informed they wont do anything.

duvet Wed 26-Jun-13 14:33:04

No way, that is awful! How dare he! Hope you get a least a massive apology.

sydenhamhiller Wed 26-Jun-13 14:38:56

I think apology to OP not enough. Training for all conductors (and other train staff) and public apology.

<Have just been explaining keel-hauling to DC ...ponders...>

HomeHelpMeGawd Wed 26-Jun-13 14:38:59

Says you've been sent an email?!

phantomhairpuller Wed 26-Jun-13 14:40:25

What did the email say?

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 14:41:32

I added a tweet & quoted @aerial_emma to LLL.

GiveMumABreak Wed 26-Jun-13 14:43:38

I am so angry about this! angry

Figgygal Wed 26-Jun-13 14:45:44

Training required most definitely silly man!!

I tweeted them (I never tweet) looks like they are getting irritated!

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 14:48:37

Thanks Chann, was trying to find it to retweet in the hope it got noticed.

MrsSpagBol Wed 26-Jun-13 14:49:27

Retweeted and tweeted northern rail. Outrageous!!

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 14:50:04

I just got a tweet back from northern rail saying they will only deal with the customer. Not me as I am a third party.

I asked them for a link to their website where they explain their support for bf.

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 14:52:31

They are getting a bit arsey aren't they....

I have RT.

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 14:53:25

Aye grin

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 14:53:56

In fact looking at replies at others complaints they are a bit arsey with most people!

MustafaCake Wed 26-Jun-13 14:54:01

Wow, I bet that conductor wouldn't be happy having his lunch in the train toilets!

Stupid ignorant man, don't let it put you off BFing, the vast majority of people are very supportive.

GwendolynMoon Wed 26-Jun-13 14:56:27

I have retweeted your Aunt and tweeted Northern Rail smile

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Wed 26-Jun-13 14:58:31

Northern Rail that is shite. Retraining needed! Plus apology and preferably free tickets for OP!!

I don't have twitter but posting in the hope enough mentions on this thread will make it a google hit for their company recognition software.

Again, Northern Rail that is appalling.

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Wed 26-Jun-13 15:00:01

OP if you ask MN Towers to get this moved to Chat/AIBU, you may get more traffic and more retweets?

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 15:00:51

Northern rail got voted worst rail network in the country last year...

rockybalboa Wed 26-Jun-13 15:03:05

That is outrageous! Sounds like you've already had some good advice about what to do next which I can't add to. Personal preference of the conductor my arse...

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 15:03:45

They are no longer responding to my tweets.

MummyOfSunbeam Wed 26-Jun-13 15:04:34

Yes I would LOVE to write a complaint letter! In fact I was considering doing it anyway just from reading that post! If we can organise and do it collectively then that could really help them take notice!

Jojobump1986 Wed 26-Jun-13 15:05:33

star they probably can't keep up with all of them! grin

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 15:06:42

They just switched over admin to Andy
Good luck to him this afternoon is all I have to say....

lydiajones Wed 26-Jun-13 15:06:58

Can feel my blood pressure rising!! Definitely complain about this. What a disgrace of a man.

Beveridge Wed 26-Jun-13 15:07:18

Wow. Dangerous, minging and illegal.Write to your mp and get them to pursue it too.

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 15:08:02

I just got a tweet from Andy who is concerned.

TinyTear Wed 26-Jun-13 15:08:06

Bloody hell, I just bf my 17 month old on an east Coast train and no one dared to say a word

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 15:08:44

OP, what is the name of your local newspaper?

MummyOfSunbeam Wed 26-Jun-13 15:08:53

Totally rejoining twitter just in order to join the righteous Twitchfork Mob these twats deserve!

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 15:10:09

#Wants to tweet on my Mumsnet Local Ed area Twitter but might get told off so sits on hands.....

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 15:12:14

Oh boy, change of direction. OP, Andy would like you to call him grin

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 15:12:49

I don't do twitter but do they have a fb page?

This is disgraceful, god I hate using train toilets as they are rank and will always wait till I get to my destination if I can, to suggest you bfeed in them...yuck yuck yuck and more importantly illegal!

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 15:12:49

From NHS website You shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. In fact, the Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a cafe, shop or public transport.
Avoid the loos. Don’t feel that you should sit in a public toilet to breastfeed. You wouldn’t eat in there, so don’t feel that your baby should.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 26-Jun-13 15:12:56

>I just got a tweet back from northern rail saying they will only deal with the customer. Not me as I am a third party.

So maybe people should ask for clarification on their BF policy so that they know whether they will be able to use Northern Rail next time they travel with their baby? Surely they can deal with potential customers?

I don't twitter or FB - but hope you get somewhere with this.

By the way, OP well done - for good answer and not moving! Sorry you were made uncomfortable by this idiot and his employers.
Have you tried calling again and asking to escalate to the manager of whoever is on the phone? The answer you got was in no way acceptable.

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 15:13:33

OP, Andy's number is 08081 561606.

Copthallresident Wed 26-Jun-13 15:13:37

OP twenty years ago I had a similar experience in a John Lewis café "There's a place for that" . I complained to the Store Manager who replied that he supported the woman clearing tables since even if I didn't find it offensive, many people did. So I involved Tommy's campaign who at that time were giving awards to breastfeeding friendly places, which John Lewis had recently won, and wrote to the CEO. I got a profuse apology and an apology from clearer upper, and store manager. Go to the top, and involve every pro breastfeeding organisation, and since it is illegal threaten them with legal action. Only if we keep kicking up stinks will we ensure this isn't still happening in 20 years time. Sorry I don't tweet but I will do an email.

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 15:13:53

Do you think they have seen this thread and are testing the wrath of mnet?! grin. As they should!

WhistlingBay Wed 26-Jun-13 15:15:26

I have tweeted as well.

CbeebiesIsMyLife Wed 26-Jun-13 15:17:24

I was about to retweet too and tweet them, but they seem to be panicking slightly.
Good on you op for wanting to kick up a fuss. I have never heard such nonsence, bf in a train toilet, HOW exactly?

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 15:18:18

Andy tweets that northernrailorg are compliant with the Equality Act.

Channicholls Wed 26-Jun-13 15:18:33

i am really happy with all the help and advice from everyone so thank you.

northern rail sent an email asking for details of what happened which i have responded to but im still waiting a reply.

thanks again for the support

Copthallresident Wed 26-Jun-13 15:19:41

CEO of Northern Rail's email

MummyOfSunbeam Wed 26-Jun-13 15:19:41

Let's take these wankers down! Sorry feeling highly militant here. As soon as baby asleep I will start invoking the wrath if all the lactivist groups I know. Andy should have a handful. I agree TRAINING is what we want as well as apology to OP.

Want2bSupermum Wed 26-Jun-13 15:19:43

Take a look at the board and see if any of them are an MP. Normally there is an MP or an exMP on these boards. These people tend to be more responsive.

I would also speak to your MP and get them involved.

WhistlingBay Wed 26-Jun-13 15:21:02

Northen Rail have just tweeted this:

Congratulations @northernrailorg you are #13 on UK Twitter Social Customer Care Leaders. via @leaderboarded


ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 26-Jun-13 15:21:53

I wouldn't even take a baby into a train toilet let alone feed one in there! BOAK.

I don't tweet or I would - I'm sure lots of people will.

Nice to think that they believe breaking the law is an option their conductors have. Idiots.

Lomaamina Wed 26-Jun-13 15:23:51

The excellent site gave me this info:

Northern Rail

Ian BevanManaging Director
Company Twitter@northernrailorg

WhistlingBay Wed 26-Jun-13 15:24:12

I don't Andy is all that bothered by the Tweets he has received.

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 15:26:15

Er would 'Andy' like to explain how northern rail are compliant with the equality act?!! They clearly are not!

CbeebiesIsMyLife Wed 26-Jun-13 15:28:17

but 5 mad things as long as they are 'in line' with other service providers thats obviously ok. hmm wankers

HardlyMotherTheresa Wed 26-Jun-13 15:31:35

I have emailed Ian Bevan (MD)

I think the equality act only applied to discrimination in terms of services and employment. It is not clear that being able to eat on a train is a "service" that passengers enjoy and so it is not clear that the Equality Act applies to it (hence Northern Rail's claim that they comply). But they should be jolly well ashamed of themselves and the law should come into line with Scottish law and make that kind of attitude illegal.

I'll let you know if I get a reply.

Copthallresident Wed 26-Jun-13 15:38:02

Email sent Dear Mr Bevan

I he just learnt from a contributor to Mumsnet that one of your Conductors thought it appropriate to tell her she should breastfeed in the toilets, and that upon complaining she was advised this was a matter for the Conductor. I appreciate that this is hearsay but I am very concerned that I have family who breastfeed who use your trans and I want to ensure that you have policies in place to prevent this happening to them. I am sure that your organisation appreciates that a woman’s right to breastfeed in public is protected by law and that, in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility, most organisations recognise that given the health benefits of breastfeeding they should be seen to support it, and certainly not contribute to the stigma and difficulty women encounter. Worryingly breastfeeding rates recently dropped for the first time in a long time so it is a very current issue affecting Health Policy and the NHS, for whom I understand other divisions of your company work. I would therefore be grateful if you could clarify your policy on Breastfeeding and the training etc. in place to ensure it is implemented consistently, and the law not broken, so that I can reassure my relations, or if it is inadequate, decide whether to pursue this with government and your main Board.


******** MBA, MMRS, MCIM

Wishfulmakeupping Wed 26-Jun-13 15:40:29

Will email now. Still think a mumsnet mass bf sit in would be good but don't want to line their pockets

DoodleAlley Wed 26-Jun-13 15:44:26

I barely want to go to the toilet in train toilets let alone feed in them.

I have a three month old who is breast fed and am considering going by train to visit family members. I shall be making sure I avoid Northern Rain if at all possible given the potential discrimination against me as a breastfeeding mother.

Wishfulmakeupping Wed 26-Jun-13 15:46:41

Could you please clarify Northern Rail's stance on breastfeeding on your trains.
An issue has been raised on Mumsnet that a lady breastfeeding was asked to move to the train toilet- is this the way in which you would encourage your staff to behave?
I will avoid using your service if breastfeeding is frowned upon as I'm not willing to feed my child in a toilet or let her go hungry in case a member of you staff finds it offensive


Wishfulmakeupping Wed 26-Jun-13 15:48:38

Is there facebook group/page set up for this? Not on twitter

Didactylos Wed 26-Jun-13 15:49:24

its also pretty damn poor for people who might need to use the train toilets during the time they want you to feed in there

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 15:52:33

There is a northern rail fb page, it doesn't accept comments on their own it just posts things they want to publicize but you can then comment on those things iyswim?

One is an event re museums etc in York..if you travel by northern rail you then get discounted entry... I may have commented along the lines of his nice it would have been to take my kids in the summer but now I can't rake them in northern rail due to their attitude towards bfeeding mothers...

GrimmaTheNome Wed 26-Jun-13 15:57:15

>its also pretty damn poor for people who might need to use the train toilets during the time they want you to feed in there

well yes. My DD used to feed approx. 40 minutes in every hour!

Wishfulmakeupping Wed 26-Jun-13 15:59:19

Anyone else had this email back

The message was quarantined because you appear to be an unknown sender. To become a known sender and have your messages accepted in the future you will need to reply to this message and append the word RELEASE (not case sensitive) to the subject of your reply.

To send / release your message you must:

1) Select 'Reply' to this message from your e-mail client.
2) Append the word RELEASE at the end of the subject line.

If your request is successful your original message will be automatically released from quarantine and your address will be added to our system as a known sender. You should receive confirmation of success via email.

Challenge Code:


Email Content Security

FattyMcChubster Wed 26-Jun-13 16:00:03

This has made me really really mad! I don't normally get this mad about things but just the thought of having to bf in a train toilet makes me angry.

Wishfulmakeupping Wed 26-Jun-13 16:00:23

Done it guess if they've just set that up he's getting bombarded smile

That's outrageous! angry

Quangle Wed 26-Jun-13 16:04:26

I was just going to say, I'm livid on the OP's behalf but I would also be annoyed as a train user if the toilets were out of use for an hour while someone fed a baby.

Can we launch some sort of flash mob event where the OP does as instructed and bfs her baby in the toilets and my DS (3) screams and shouts that he needs a wee and hops about in the carriage annoying all the other passengers and then does a wee on her vacant seat because the toilet was occupied grin

HardlyMotherTheresa Wed 26-Jun-13 16:07:00

wishful Yes, I got that back but followed the instructions and then got a confirmation that my original email was now through to its recipient (Ian Bevan). It's an anti spam filter, tis all.

WhistlingBay Wed 26-Jun-13 16:07:29

Someone should email him a link to this thread so he can see, not only the outrage, but also the very valid point about the toilets being occupied for a long period of time.

On twitter, Andy has said that they need to speak to the conductor incase there was a misunderstanding.

I can see the need to speak to the conductor but I don't think this can in anyway be construed as a 'misunderstanding.'

I have emailed Mr Bevan. Will post any reply.

HardlyMotherTheresa Wed 26-Jun-13 16:09:36

Copthall MMRS? Manchester Model Railway Society? Appropriate for a rail company email I guess. grin

Copthallresident Wed 26-Jun-13 16:09:50

Yes but it looks like a pretty standard security filter to stop SPAM etc. No CEO involved with the public sector, and most in the private sector, could ignore or filter emails sent by the public and most would have what is known as a "flag case" procedure that gathers the info necessary for a reply to be written in the CEOs name. I have done what it asked, we'll see if I get a reply. Pity if it's not actually illegal but the Corporate Social Responsibility and Customer Service / Marketing issues remain.

I got the same email as Wishfulmakeupping.

I have tried again.

Never ever had that before ... perhaps he gets a lot of similar mail!

Copthallresident Wed 26-Jun-13 16:14:16

grin If only, I have always fancied a model railway but DDs' interest stopped at Brio, and I would also love to live back oop north wink Far more boring and prosaic but doesn't hurt to add in a few professional qualifications (Market Research Society)

Shallishanti Wed 26-Jun-13 16:18:01

hm, equalities act, surely not compliant-
the service they are providing is travel
a woman who is bf is 'not allowed' to sit in the same seats as everyone else
hence, she is being discriminated against

Shallishanti Wed 26-Jun-13 16:19:09

Like Quangle's suggestion grin

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 16:19:31

They have replied to my message on fb saying you are welcome to bfeed on their trains, they have seen the complaint on twitter etc and are going to seek clarification from the conducted..,

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 16:20:28

They want to speak to the conductor and ascertain what happened...

2blessed Wed 26-Jun-13 16:26:54

Not a twitter user but will email the MD.

Channicholls Wed 26-Jun-13 16:29:29

wow thanks for support, local newspaper is Louth Leader and Grimsby Telegraph.

the email just ask what had happened. which we responded to.

tried calling as Andy requested and just got through to a multi desk customer service team who didnt know much about what we was speaking about. but said now they have all the info it will be investigated.

My email to Neil has apparently got through...

CaptainJamesTKirk Wed 26-Jun-13 16:32:14

I wouldn't even wee in a train toilet, let alone feed a baby. Disgusting!

Well done for pursuing this! smile

Can anyone post the tweet record (sorry don't really understand how to see / check it!!)

Copthallresident Wed 26-Jun-13 16:38:17

I'm a known sender too....

Wowserz129 Wed 26-Jun-13 16:39:27

Speak to the conductor to ascertain what happened. What a cheek!! You just told them what happened!

Blatherskite Wed 26-Jun-13 16:41:47

Have retweeted too. Totally unacceptable suggestion by the conductor.

Can you tell us the conductor's name. He sooooooooo needs re-educating.

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 16:46:12

grin at the person who corrected spelling!

stargirl1701 Wed 26-Jun-13 16:47:44

Brilliant! grin

Blatherskite Wed 26-Jun-13 16:57:51

1 tweet and I'm being asked to "please let us investigate"!

They should have been investigating when first approached with a complaint instead of advising that it was conductor preference angry

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 16:59:52

fedup not sure if this will work but should show you all results

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 17:00:59

you might have to click all rather than top.

Wowserz129 Wed 26-Jun-13 17:01:01

Sounds like to me Andy is trying to make it out like OP has misunderstood the conductor. Also he needs to be told that they said it was preference on the phone whilst making an official complaint. He sounds dumb as hell.

NorthernRail1 Wed 26-Jun-13 17:03:13

Hi All,

My name is Pete Myers I am the Head of our Customer Relations team at Northern Rail and wanted to update you all on this situation.

Firstly, we were as shocked to hear of this alleged behaviour as you were. Many of you have asked about our policy, it is quite simply that we comply with the Equality Act 2010, so that means you can breastfeed on our trains and stations.

When a complaint such as this is received we always carry out a full investigation, including speaking to the employee concerned. We are investigating this now and we are in contact with the original poster and will keep her updated.

Please be assured we are taking this matter very seriously.


expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 17:09:13

Hello Pete.

I do hope you get to the bottom of this and it is revolved not only with an apology but training for correct policies.

While I accept incidents happen and you have to investigate, how can two members of staff get it so wrong. Not only have we the first alleged incident of the mother being asked to feed in the toilet which is of course bad enough and illegal but then when the mother reports the alleged incident another member of staff then allegedly states that adhering to the law is a "conductor preference".

This identifies a real need for training rather than a we have messed up and we are sorry.

Please can you also investigate the customer complaints handling of this.

Thank you.

Channicholls Wed 26-Jun-13 17:25:08

There is now a Facebook page called 'asked to breast feed in the toilet! Disgusted'

I still haven't had a reply from my email that i sent about what had happened.

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 17:40:16

Ha ha wondered how long it would take them to find mnet!

expectingtoomuch Wed 26-Jun-13 17:44:55

That will teach me to laugh at correction of spelling on Twitter blush
resolved not revolved...

BonaDea Wed 26-Jun-13 17:50:38

Watching with interest. Seething on OP's behalf!

SuffolkNWhat Belgium Wed 26-Jun-13 17:53:17

Three years, THREE YEARS the Equalities Act has been in existance and still this happens. Have tweeted and retweeted.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 26-Jun-13 17:54:45

Brave man, Pete grin

Anyone feel a haiku or limerick coming on yet?

ShowOfHands Wed 26-Jun-13 18:01:03

If you want a lesson in how to do it, I can tell you which train I travelled on recently. I am still breastfeeding my 21 month old son and did so on a train to London. I was approached by the conductor and I did fear I was about to be asked to move/stop. Nope. He said I could sit in first class for free if I wanted as there was more space to feed comfortably and would I like a free cup of tea and a glass of water. Maybe a biscuit. Now THAT is how you do it.

Blatherskite Wed 26-Jun-13 18:05:52

Now that's the way to do it!

GrimmaTheNome Wed 26-Jun-13 18:06:44

That's more like it, SOH! Which company? Plaudits where they're due.

gintastic Wed 26-Jun-13 18:14:56

Can confirm that Virgin/Cross Countrt brought me free tea/biscuits when breastfeeding on their train. Not once, but twice on different journeys on the Oxford-York service. Outrageous behaviour from Northern Rail.

domesticslattern Wed 26-Jun-13 18:49:22

I've bf babies on First Great Western, London Overground, First Capital Connect, Virgin... would love to know what is special about Northern rail. In particular, do their customers all prefer the sound of a baby yelling to the sight of a baby feeding? Or do none of them ever need the loo on the train? Nope, didn't think so. Having one rooky conducter is one thing but then sticking up for him by saying it's personal preference, then taking an age to respond.... what a shower of idiots.'

Jojobump1986 Wed 26-Jun-13 19:09:50

I want free tea & biscuits! Must start traveling by train more. I never go up north so don't need to worry about reserving a cubicle! wink

HappyJustToBe Wed 26-Jun-13 19:16:30

I am appalled that this conductor thinks he has any right to ask you to breastfeed in the toilet. He really should keep his personal issues out of the workplace rather than intimidating customers.

Channicholls Wed 26-Jun-13 19:36:47

Well I've never been offered tea n biscuits lol which I wouldn't expect but to be treated with a bit of respect rather than like I'm doing something wrong I don't think is too much to ask :/

PicnicPie Wed 26-Jun-13 19:48:13

Just seen this thread op and wanted to my support. What a horribke ordeal for you. Appalling behaviour. I hope that through MN, Twitter and other media feeds we are able to shame Northern Rail into publicly apologising to you as well as introducing better policies and training to their staff in relation to equality and breastfeeding in public.

Keep us posted.

ShowOfHands Wed 26-Jun-13 20:56:27

It was First Capital Connect.

HomeHelpMeGawd Wed 26-Jun-13 21:27:34

Am pleased we have managed to support the OP in creating enough noise to prod some action out of Northern Rail.

Pete - if you're reading this, I suggest you look for an opportunity to do some ju jitsu and do some very visible positive stuff on breastfeeding, like inviting la leche to help you make some improvements.

psychologymum Wed 26-Jun-13 21:38:10

There should be a law that you can't discriminate against breastfeeding mums.

notanyanymore Wed 26-Jun-13 21:44:56

Please kick up a big massive stink about that!!! What an appalling reaction from the company! I think you need to pursue it, ask to speak to someone higher, and higher again if necessary and if all else fails get the CEO's email (Google it) and email them direct (honestly, it works!) I'm bf-ing my 4 month old at tho mo and am disgusted by the way you've been treated' seething angry

notanyanymore Wed 26-Jun-13 21:48:06

I might have to contact them to enquire if as I am bf-ing at the mo it means I can't travel on their services incase their conductor doesn't like it, or do I need to check with the conductor first...?

I just read the edited highlights of this thread to my DH and he came up with what I think is a really good suggestion.

A couple of years ago, amateur photographers were having cameras taken and photos deleted by the police who were telling them they weren't allowed to take pictures anywhere due to terrorism threats etc... In response, Amateur Photographer Magazine produced a card that stated their rights so it could easily carried around and used to show the police that they were not following correct procedure. You can view it here

How about Mumsnet does something similar stating the most important points from the Equalities Act?

What do you all think?

fuckwittery Wed 26-Jun-13 21:53:56

Lady Macbeth brilliant idea

notanyanymore Wed 26-Jun-13 21:54:58

And send one to northern line!

peekyboo Wed 26-Jun-13 23:20:59

What was the specific area where it happened? Just so we're forewarned!

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Wed 26-Jun-13 23:38:23

So one post from Peter and nothing further? Will be interested in an update.

pete we won't let this die, don't think you can fob us and OP off either. We are watching you <narrows eyes and glares>

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Wed 26-Jun-13 23:47:20

And I've just joined your group on fb, OP, and shared on my feed. Good luck. Northern Rail, you got some work to do.

Vasilisa96 Thu 27-Jun-13 00:22:00

Maybe MN Towers can help, as another lady suggested earlier on in the posts?? I RT'ed your Aunt on twitter, and # ed northern rail .... They should feel the heat, really!! How can they bloody say it was up to a person's preference??! Absolutely mind-numbingly stupid people. They should be accountable for their staff and send the bloke on human rights' training asap though I doubt it will do him much good. angry

Wowserz129 Thu 27-Jun-13 07:55:15

I really don't think it should take this long to get a response. It can't take that long to speak to the employee and speak to customer service. Northern Rail need to speak to the customer service rep who said it was conductor preference. Both employees equally as stupid as each other.

Channicholls Thu 27-Jun-13 07:57:58

still no response to my email (not even a curtisy email saying they are still investigating). so we have emailed all local papers and a couple of national ones. just hope someone picks up the story now.

Channicholls Thu 27-Jun-13 07:59:05

and it was doncatser to sheffield train at miday on 25th.

Wishfulmakeupping Thu 27-Jun-13 07:59:17

Had this email just come through
Your email to Ian Bevan has been passed to me as the manager within our business best placed to answer on this subject.

Firstly, I am aware of the allegations that have been posted on the net, I am also aware that we have started an internal investigation to find out what happened.

However, whatever happened, I feel that I must apologise to our customer to you and to anyone else who has been upset by this incident.

In this subject, the law is clear and that is as a provider of a public service we must not discriminate in any way against a woman because she is breastfeeding. This goes way beyond the law of course, because it must be morally wrong to do so.

You ask about our policy, in truth we don’t have written policy specifically for this subject, because as I say the law is clear, and our guiding principle is to obey this. However to answer your question yes, you are permitted to breastfeed on our services and stations (not that you need our permission), and the last thing that we would want to happen is a mother to feel uncomfortable by doing so, or for a child to go hungry.

I cannot comment about this instance, but you would be right to say that if true we have not followed the Equality Act, and in such circumstances, we will have to review our training and policies. One instance is one too many of course, but I can say that this is the first such instance that I have dealt with on our services.

Nonetheless, I do reiterate my apologies because this is a serious matter and at least one of our customers has been upset by our actions.

Yours sincerely

Pete Myers
Head of Service Quality

Northern Rail Ltd
Northern House

T: (01904 56) 8505

Buy train tickets to anywhere in Great Britain at

Channicholls Thu 27-Jun-13 08:11:16

none of their staff that has responded has even acknowlegded the actions of the customers service advisor. they seem to be investigating the initial incident. but thats it. but two members of staff should be being investigated not just one!

Hi, I have just had the same email as Wishfulmakupping. I will reply to it including Chanicholls comment.

Channicholls Thu 27-Jun-13 09:39:24

Pete has just called my aunt and said that customer relations issue is also being dealt with. :-)

peekyboo Thu 27-Jun-13 09:42:04

Brilliant! And it's a very good email too, not the usual standard wiffy-waffle-blurby nonsense you usually get from places.

notanyanymore Thu 27-Jun-13 09:49:27

i can't find your group on fb sad

carolthesecretary Thu 27-Jun-13 10:03:16

Write to the CEO and link to this thread. We'll back you up! Power of Mumsnet and all that... wink

carolthesecretary Thu 27-Jun-13 10:04:13

Ooh sorry, slightly slow on the advice front here...

expectingtoomuch Thu 27-Jun-13 10:23:31

Is it not breastfeeding awareness week too? How ironic .

Copthallresident Thu 27-Jun-13 10:23:43

I have had a similar reply, I am satisfied that they will now try to make sure it doesn't happen again

Your email to Ian Bevan has been passed to me as the manager within our business best placed to answer on this subject.

Firstly, I am aware of the allegations that have been posted on the net, I am also aware that we have started an internal investigation to find out what happened.

However, whatever happened, I feel that I must apologise to our customer to you and to anyone else who has been upset by this incident.

In this subject, the law is clear and that is as a provider of a public service we must not discriminate in any way against a woman because she is breastfeeding. This goes way beyond the law of course, because it must be morally wrong to do so.

You ask about our policy, in truth we don’t have written policy specifically for this subject, because as I say the law is clear, and our guiding principle is to obey this.

I cannot comment about this instance, but you would be right to say that if true we have not followed the Equality Act, and in such circumstances, we will have to review our training and policies. One instance is one too many of course, but I can say that this is the first such instance that I have dealt with on our services.

With regard to training, we have spent a great deal of time and effort training and briefing our people with regard to the necessities of the Equality Act. Nevertheless, it is a wide ranging piece of legislation so we have been in touch with our head of training who will review this to ensure that we have covered all of the aspects of the Act, and of course see what can be learned from the events of Tuesday.

Nonetheless, I do reiterate my apologies because this is a serious matter and at least one of our customers has been upset by our actions.

Lomaamina Thu 27-Jun-13 21:35:06

I think that reads as a very heartfelt apology. Not the usual bland nonsense. Well done them.

Channicholls Thu 27-Jun-13 23:29:38

I think the only person not to have received an apology email is me lol.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 28-Jun-13 09:14:05

That's a bit odd - do they have your email? If not, if Pete is following the thread maybe he could try the Message Poster link next to the OPs posts.

TanglednotTamed Fri 28-Jun-13 09:24:58

Glad Northern Rail is taking this seriously. I travel with them quite often and have breastfed three babies on their trains over the years without incident.

I'd be horribly shocked at a conductor behaving the way this one did - and equally so at another member of staff saying that's down to conductor preference. Hopefully both members of staff will be set right, and Northern Rail will ensure this doesn't happen again.

<boaks at the very idea of feeding a baby in a train toilet. It is bad enough going for a wee one, frankly>

Wishfulmakeupping Fri 28-Jun-13 09:25:06

That's bizarre OP what contact have they made so far with you?

Channicholls Fri 28-Jun-13 09:34:03

Just an email asking what happened which I responded to and haven't heard anything since.

Copthallresident Fri 28-Jun-13 09:37:36

OP our apology emails were quicker to write, since they are statements of policy which reassuringly is clearly not a matter of dispute or ambiguity. They will need to talk to the Conductor and other people you interfaced with to gather the information needed to write to you fully. Having said that a simple we are sorry you were upset and are doing a, b, and c to investigate would be good form. Hope you get some satisfaction soon.

Witt Fri 28-Jun-13 09:43:10

I have tweeted and retweeted.

Channicholls Sat 29-Jun-13 07:07:47

This is the apology I received which would have been more genuine if not accompanied with lies and excuses from both parties involved in this! However, it is an apology none of the less lol

Dear Ms Nicholls

I am away from the office and therefore can only pick up messages by email, but I understand that four days have elapsed since the incident and as I have spoken to those involved, I felt that it was only fair that I contacted you now before the weekend.

Before I do anything else, I feel that I should wholeheartedly apologise, because whatever happened in your case I feel we have not been as effective in communicating with you as we ought. I must take some blame for this because even yesterday when I spoke to your aunt; I initially believed that I would be speaking to you. When I realised that it wasn’t possible to speak to you, perhaps in hindsight I should have asked for your phone number so I could call you direct.

I will try to address both parts of your complaint that of the interaction that you had on the train and the response that you had from our Customer Relations people.

I also apologise if any of the following seems cold or uncaring, that is not my intention and it certainly will not be a case of me believing our employees before our customers, but these are the facts made available to me and gleaned from my investigation into the case.

Firstly, let me reiterate the plain facts, under the auspices of the Equality Act you are perfectly permitted to breastfeed on our trains and stations (not that you need any permission), and indeed anywhere else that you may wish to do so.

So why did our conductor suggest that you feed your child in the washroom on the train? On speaking to him, he states that you were being overlooked by two, what he describes as, teenagers standing holding cycles, and he felt that your close proximity to these individuals may have caused you some embarrassment; therefore, he offered you the use of the washroom as an alternative, as he thought he was offering you some privacy if you would have wanted it.

Was he right in doing so? The answer is clearly no, he should not have said anything, or if you had complained then asked these youths (who incidentally are probably unaware of these events) to vacate the area.

Why did he act in this way, I believe that it was done with the best intentions; but his actions made you feel embarrassed and discriminated against so of course they were wrong.

In cases like this, I always look into past cases, and ask the individual’s line manager “is this typical of him/her”. In this case, it must be said that we have no history of poor customer service and I can honestly say that this employee has no past complaints lodged against him. Furthermore, his manager describes him as a good and friendly employee who normally provides very high levels of customer service.

I will also add that our employee is very upset that his actions caused you distress, and emphasises that he thought that he was helping you gain privacy.

None of this makes his actions right, but I do think that the facts are pertinent.

Now to talk about Customer Relations, the case here seems to be their apparent refusal to take you accusations over the phone and our request that you put them in writing. This is the right thing to do, because you made a very serious allegation against an employee, which needed to be investigated, the only way to do this is to get your account in writing, we then use this (with all of your personal details redacted) to interview our people and to find out what happened from their standpoint.

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.

They did say that the exchange became heated and I am truly sorry that this was the case, because in Customer Relations we have a clear duty to change negatives into positives and to help those who contact us. We failed in your case, so as I say I am sorry.

What are we going to learn from this case? I feel that is vital that we learn from this sad case, I said in my previous statements that cases like this are rare, and indeed I have never come across one before, but one case is one too many, so it must not happen again.

The Equality Act is a large piece of legalisation and focus is often put onto the aspects that used to be known as ‘disability discrimination’, so perhaps our people need to be re-briefed about their duties towards people in your situation who need to feed their children. Therefore, I have asked our safety team to produce a brief for all those who work on our trains and stations to make it perfectly clear what is expected of them and what our customers deserve.

Finally, I hope that I can fully appreciate the situation that you found yourself in last Tuesday, and considering this, I would be quite willing to offer you a free travel for two people on our services, for a period of three months. Please believe me, that I offer this not in an attempt to placate you in anyway; but rather as a genuine gesture of goodwill, as I imagine your confidence in the rail industry in general has been knocked to a certain extent by the experience. I hope that you can use the opportunity to have an enjoyable trip somewhere on our network, and at the same time regain some confidence in our industry.

If you wish to take advantage of this goodwill gesture, please let me know and we will make the necessary arrangements to get a ticket out to you.

As you know, this case has created a great deal of interest on the internet and particularly on ‘mumsnet’ (which I must say I had never looked at before, but which is very impressive indeed). I was impressed with the interest that your comments created and am only sorry that our apparent inability to answer your case forced you into what must be an uncomfortable position in having use such a public media.

To close, we were wrong in how our employee interacted with you on the train, and whatever happened with your interchange with Customer Relations, you were clearly unhappy with the experience so we were wrong again.

Do I believe that we have a problem in Northern Rail concerning this subject? As I say above this is the first such complaint of this nature that I have dealt with, but also, as I say your experience was one too many, and I reiterate my apologies to you and to whoever else may have been offended by these actions.

I am aware that an email hardly does this case justice, and I would be happy to meet with you if you feel that this would be useful, please let me know some convenient dates, times and locations and I will do my best to comply.

Thank you for your patience in this matter, and I hope that this reply helps to reassure you that we take this subject and our duties to all our customers seriously.

Yours sincerely

Pete Myers
Head of Service Quality

Northern Rail Ltd
Northern House

giantpenguinmonster Sat 29-Jun-13 07:35:04

This is quite an annoying apology IMHO- even ignoring the denials. I'm not a breastfeeding nazi by any stretch but all the emails have used the word 'permitted' regarding breastfeeding.

Perhaps in your reply you should suggest that Northern Rail goes beyond the letter of the law (although adhering to that would be a start!) and recognises that breastfeeding is normal, good for babies and bloody hard to do. They need to retrain their staff to make it easier on mums. Sorting out seats if need be, giving people privacy and respect. And free water/biscuits wouldn't go amiss either.

I think you have the ear of the company OP. Go for it!

MrsSiba Sat 29-Jun-13 07:44:53

I'm impressed by Pete's apology, seems genuine and clear.

However he has made the conductor look like even more of a twunt suggesting he thought you needed privacy from some youths.....why not tell the youths to grow up and move somewhere else? He is also missing the point - bf is natural not a dirty perversion reserved for behind closed doors.

Wowserz129 Sat 29-Jun-13 08:43:42

What an unacceptable reply. Firstly, why on earth would the conductor say you can use the toilets because there was young teenagers around when you haven't asked/complained/said you felt embarrassed? It doesn't make sense and it doesn't make it anymore acceptable. It doesn't change the fact that the employee clearly doesn't know the law regarding breastfeeding as he would have addressed it clearer to you at the time.

It's an apology none the less but it just reads like its full of excuses to me and doesn't highlight anywhere they are going to improve there services regarding this. hmm

It's not a bad letter, but it's clear that both the conductor and the customer services operatives have fibbed to cover up their mistakes. Do you remember any bicycling youths? Even if there had been, his intervention was completely inappropriate and insensitive. The correct repose to a breastfeeding woman as a customer service operative, is to ignore the fact that she is breastfeeding and interact with her as normal. Unless she is struggling in some way and you can offer aid, do not mention it. There is no need. The idea that the OP needed protection from some youths is absurd, and patronising; if she had needed to move she would have done so. So there was no need whatsoever for the conductor to bring h breastfeeding to anyone's attention, thereby potentially making her feel self conscious or ashamed, even if his intentions had been helpful (which I don't believe).

Secondly, the customer service operative who took the call denies making the inflammatory statement yet acknowledges that the exchange became heated. If they did not tell the OP that the conductor had the right to ask her to breastfeed in the toilets - what was the heated exchange about? I would be interested to know their explanation for that.

Thirdly, the OP is not a fool, she knows what happened and in what context. It is very easy to distinguish between an unnecessary but helpfully intended suggestion, and an intrusive and offensive objection to the act of breastfeeding. To suggest that she misunderstood the conductor's intent is patronising and offensive. I appreciate that the company must support their employees but I hope that behind the scenes somebody has acknowledged the reality and seriousness of this situation and is providing training or supervisory measures as necessary, to all staff members involved.

Pete - are you still reading?

DoodleAlley Sat 29-Jun-13 09:49:00

My four year old can do better apologies than that!

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 Belgium 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!

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.

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

JumpingJacks Thu 11-Jul-13 13:42:26

I agree, your dd is gorgeous and very unphased by it all!

piprabbit Thu 11-Jul-13 13:43:21

Not only is it unacceptable to mums to be asked to feed their baby in the toilet - it is also unacceptable to the rest of the passengers as the toilet would be occupied for a lengthy period of time.

Stupid, stupid company.

becscertainstar Thu 11-Jul-13 13:50:33

I don't like the apology. So the conductor was protecting the OP from leering teens... by telling her to go and breastfeed in the toilet. It sounds like justification to me.

I wouldn't want the conductor to lose his job as it's clearly his training that's at fault - it's a scenario that should have been covered when he learned how to do his job.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Jul-13 14:09:08

I am a member of the Brestapo [Grin] and i think the apology is ok actually... however there is one issue I wouldn't be happy with and that's the fact that they deny that whoever you spoke to in Northern rail told you "that there was nothing they could do and its down to personal preference of conductors".

If this is what they said then it's utter rubbish and they really need to address that.

Oscalito Fri 12-Jul-13 09:11:08

I think it's a good result and not a bad apology, although it took them a while to get there - especially considering you could have done nothing, or been intimidated by the ignorant conductor.

Instead a lot of people have been re-educated, there's been media coverage and once again the message has been driven home that women have the right to breastfeed wherever they want. I hope you take advantage of the three months free train travel too. Well done.

I also agree that the conductor shouldn't lose his job - he just hasn't been trained properly and hopefully NR will now be looking into that to avoid a shitstorm like this in future!

LoopyLooplaHoop Fri 12-Jul-13 09:34:46

Oh come on, it's a crap apology, desperately trying to wheedle his way out of a media shit storm.

My issues with it:

1. He conducted an investigation without speaking to you. Idiot.
2. Including such shit 'justification' from the conductor shows that the company don't value the equality act.
3. Trying to flatter Mumsnet, in the vain hope that they'll change their mids. Suck.
4. Training was clearly insufficient. Just admit it.
5. Terribly poor grammar
6. "Genuine gesture of goodwill" bollocks.
7. "Do I believe that we have a problem in Northern Rail concerning this subject?" What is the purpose of this stupid rhetorical question? Again, idiot.

zanuda Sat 27-Jul-13 19:46:52

Got from the newsletter, hope, some of you will enjoy the poem:

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