London bus company accused of religious discrimination

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Trade union Unite is warning London bus contractor Metroline Travel to end the religious discrimination currently being experienced by one of its drivers.

Bus driver Marcia Carty, a Unite member based at the Perivale depot, has been barred by Metroline from wearing the colours of Rastafarianism (red, gold and green) on a head covering while at work, despite making it clear that she needs to wear her colours in order to properly observe her religion. 

Despite launching a grievance about the discrimination and indicating that she is willing to compromise and wear a predominantly black headscarf with a smaller area containing the Rastafarian colours, Metroline has continued to ban her from wearing her colours.

It is also understood by Unite that local Metroline managers have queried whether Rastafarianism is actually a religion. The company allows other drivers to observe their religion by wearing headscarves and turbans.

If Metroline does not reverse its decision then Unite will be formally raising the issue with Transport for London (TfL) and will consider if legal action is appropriate to resolve the situation. 

Unite regional official John Murphy said: “Unite is incredibly disappointed with the attitude of Metroline, this is a clear case of religious discrimination and it is imperative that the company realises its errors and allows our member to practice her religion by wearing the colours of her religion.

“Our member has been reasonable and is willing to adapt her dress but Metroline has refused to even consider accommodating her needs.

“Unite will simply not allow such a clear case of discrimination to go unchallenged. We will consider all industrial, political and legal options to ensure that this discrimination is ended.

London is a multicultural city and most people will be shocked and appalled that a bus company is condoning religious discrimination, especially as it in no way interferes with our member from performing her job.” 

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