Unite the union, which represents bus drivers, is preparing to launch a major campaign in support of its member Marcia Carty who is suffering religious discrimination by her employer Metroline Travel.

Marcia Carty a life-long Rastafarian, 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 headgear in colours outside their standard black and navy being permitted under their uniform policy.

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.

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. 

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 regional officer Russ Ball said: “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.

“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.

“Unite has given the company every opportunity to resolve this matter amicably and Metroline has refused to do so. Unite now has no alternative but to launch an extensive campaign to right this appalling injustice.

“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.”

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.


Notes to editors:

Marcia Carty is not available for interview as the terms of her Metroline contract means that she is effectively gagged. If she spoke to the media she could be found guilty of bringing the company into disrepute. Unite regional officer Russ Ball or another Unite representative are available for interview.

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.