Unite will launch a major campaign in support of bus driver Marcia Carty who is suffering religious discrimination by her employer Metroline Travel.
Marcia Carty is a life-long Rastafarian and has been barred by Metroline’s managers from wearing a black hair wrap which also included the Rastafarian colours of red, gold and green, whilst at work.
Metroline has sent her home without pay and has refused to pay her company sick pay when she was ill, for daring to continue to wear the wrap, despite head gear in colours outside their standard black and navy being permitted under their uniform policy.
“Our member Marcia Carty is suffering direct discrimination by Metroline. An injury to one is an injury to all. Unite will be throwing its full weight behind the campaign to win justice for Marcia,” said Russ Ball, Unite regional officer.
Unite delayed launching a campaign in support of Marcia until it had exhausted the company’s internal procedures. However earlier this month Metroline rejected Marcia’s grievance appeal against the company’s refusal to allow her to wear her head wrap.
“The company acknowledges that Sikhs are allowed to wear orange turbans and Muslim men are allowed to wear white skull caps so what’s different about Marcia wearing Rastafarian colours? Unite suspects that this is not just a case of discrimination on the grounds of religion but of race as well,” said Ball.
In the coming weeks Unite will be undertaking legal, industrial, community, social media and political campaigning to get the ban on Marcia’s choice of wrap overturned and secure her a full public apology from the company. The legal action being contemplated by Unite will target the managers directly responsible for the discrimination as well as Metroline.:
“Unite has given the company every opportunity to resolve this matter amicably and they have refused to do so. Unite now has no alternative but to launch an extensive campaign to right this appalling injustice,” said Ball.
“Hopefully Metroline’s management will quickly realise that they have made a severe error, come to their senses and provide Marcia with the justice that she fully deserves,” he added.
Unite will be providing further details of their campaign over the coming days and weeks.
Unite understands that no other bus company in London operates such an intolerant and discriminatory dress policy.
Metroline Travel is a major bus company in London operating routes, tendered by Transport for London (TfL) in North West London. It carries 18 per cent of London’s bus passengers, has nine bus garages and employs approaching 3,000 drivers