Two bus drivers who took their employer to court for victimisation have won their case and been awarded compensation.
Len Graves and Marcus Far were threatened with dismissal and disciplinary action after they wore high visibility vests with the RMT union logo on it.
At the employment tribunal it transpired that Arriva, the bus company, had turned a blind eye to one driver who put a swastika and the name of Himmler, a prominent Nazi, on his coat.
Mr Graves won £9000 compensation for victimisation and said: “The whole issue has been a great ordeal which caused me to become ill with stress and high blood pressure.
“I tried to challenge the charges brought against me at each stage of the process, but Arriva refused to act reasonably or properly investigate my points. I can only hope that this decision puts an end to their unreasonable and unlawful behaviour.”
Mr Farr was awarded £7000 compensation. Both were repeatedly harassed for wearing the vests, which resulted in Mr Graves becoming ill.
When Mr Graves complained about the harassment, he was told the issue could only be resolved if he would attend an immediate interview and agree not to wear an RMT vest again. At the meeting both men were disciplined.
The tribunal unanimously agreed Arriva’s management team had acted unlawfully, ruling: “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.”
Bob Crowe of the RMT said: “Arriva had no problem in tolerating bigotry and fascist messages but was not able to tolerate the three letters ‘RMT’.”