TRADESMAN Lee Bassett stormed out of work after being told he couldn’t wear a high-visibility vest displaying the Pompey logo.
The 24-year-old didn’t think there would be a problem wearing the top, which included the club’s name on the front and back, while painting walls in the Somers Town community hub, in Portsmouth.
But BAM Construction, which is leading the £12m development on behalf of the city council, warned he had to change it, but Lee decided to walk out instead.
A row has erupted over what happened – with Lee claiming the firm demanded he find another vest since one displaying a football club could create ‘friction’ with other workers. Meanwhile, BAM said the reasons were nothing to do with football, and he should have been wearing a vest displaying the name of the sub-contractor he was working for.
Lee, of Whitworth Road, Copnor, believed he was being targeted since other workers were wearing football shirts – including Pompey and Southampton ones - underneath their vest and could be clearly seen.
He said: ‘I was shocked to think that I had been asked to remove my hi-vis, when I was in the middle of Portsmouth city centre for a Portsmouth City Council job.
‘The site manager warned me the day before I walked out that I couldn’t continue wear the hi-vis because it could cause friction between other people.
‘I thought, ‘“why should I have to change it for?”
‘I have worked all over Souuthampton and I’ve never been asked to remove it before.
‘I was working with a lad who had a Southampton football shirt on.
‘You could see the Southampton badge as much as you could see my Pompey badge on my hi-vis.
‘It’s the same thing.’
Lee, who has been a Pompey fan since he was eight, was given the jacket by another worker three years ago.
He was working for Southampton-based firm MTL Contractors Ltd when he left the Somers Town site on Wednesday – and now he’s been assigned to other work and vowed to continue wearing his Pompey vest.
‘I have only just started working for MTL and the workers I’ve spoken to said “fair play, we would have done the same thing as you.”
‘When I went for my induction at Somers Town on Monday, nothing was mentioned about club logos or what had to be on a hi-vis.’
Mary Devaney, project leader for the council, said: ‘BAM are responsible for the design and building of Somerstown Central, and they manage the site in accordance with their own policies.’