Bus drivers awarded £16,000 by tribunal after being threatened with sack for wearing trade union logo

Pic: Paul Henman

Two Croydon bus drivers have been compensated thousands of pounds after being victimised for wearing their trade union’s logo.

Marcus Farr and Len Graves were harassed, disciplined and threatened with dismissal for refusing to remove high visibility vests displaying the RMT logo, an employment tribunal found.

But Arriva, which runs bus services across London, still insists standardised staff uniforms should be worn.

The tribunal was told how the company had threatened Farr and Graves with sacking but turned a blind eye to other drivers, one who displayed a swastika sign , and another who wore the name of a leading member of the Nazi party, “Himmler”, on the back of his jacket.

Graves, who was compensated £9000, said: “The whole issue has been a great ordeal which caused me to become ill with stress and high blood pressure.”

The tribunal heard how Graves and Farr were repeatedly warned about unauthorised uniforms for wearing orange RMT vests rather than Arriva-branded yellow ones.

Graves and Farr claimed Arriva had subjected them to detriment on grounds of their trade union activities, which is illegal.

The tribunal agreed unanimously that Arriva had acted unlawfully. It said: “The purpose of the acts complained of was to penalise the claimants for being members of the RMT and/or to deter them from taking part in the activities of the RMT.”

Graves adds: “I can only hope that this decision puts an end to their unreasonable and unlawful behaviour.”

The company said: “We recognise the importance of a consistent approach to staff uniforms and will be ensuring that all our employees wear appropriate clothing.”

Yet a spokesperson for the RMT told EastLondonLines: “I don’t think Arriva will want to pay thousands of pounds in compensation and legal expenses again.”

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Arriva had no problem in tolerating bigotry and fascist messages but was not able to tolerate the three letters ‘RMT’.”

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