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Bus driver in bitter fight for sartorial rights

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 26 Feb 2010, 16:01

Published: 26 Feb 2010 16:01 GMT+01:00

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Torbjörn Vendestad was all set to begin his shift as an Umeå city bus driver on Thursday when he was snared in a dawn "tie raid" in an organised sting by his employer, the Aftonbladet newspaper reports.

"As if responding to a secret signal they coordinated their swoop resulting in a heated and unpleasant atmosphere. I explained that there is no way I can wear a tie under my jumper as then I can't pull up my woolly jumper to cover my neck," Vendestad told the newspaper.

When Vendestad returned for work on Friday, once more unto the breach without the offending garment, it proved a case of "once bitten, twice bitten" and he was sent home again, without pay.

But the chastened bus driver refused to take the sartorial slight lying down and reported the matter to his union, complaining that the tie causes an uncomfortable knot under his roll-neck.

Vendestad has received the support of some of his colleagues and spent Friday afternoon camped on Vasaplan in central Umeå bearing a placard explaining his desperate plight to passers-by.

Rolf Kolmodin at bus operator Nobina is baffled at what he considers to be much ado about nothing.

Story continues below…

"This uniform policy thing is nothing odd at all. It is very common within many companies.There may well be some that regard us as a little square, but if there is a uniform policy it is there to be followed," he told the newspaper.

Torbjörn Vendestad meanwhile insisted that he will not weaken or tire in his fight for an open-necked shirt, aware that the job he has held since 1988 could be on the line.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:07 February 26, 2010 by calebian22
Is the photo a picture of the Umeå bus driver's uniforms? :-)
18:39 February 26, 2010 by chapora
Must be an easy life if they have time to compalin about a small matter such as a tie.
19:27 February 26, 2010 by livinginsweden
The tie is no more than a symbol of a dog leash around the neck ... like a slave of the boss..... and do whatever the boss want.....

Nobody wear a tie anymore than a girl would wear a bra..... burn the ties...!!!!

The tie is one of the most stupid accessory ... looks stupid.... and silly ... other than when used in bed...

ha ha
20:14 February 26, 2010 by dobermann
Come on... I see that bus drivers in Sweden have very serious problems to protest for:))) I don't know what is the problem at all. In my country bus drivers can wear almost anything they want, so sometimes people do not feel great when they see bus driver with a dirty clothes and etc. Do not forget drivers, that you represent not only yourself, but also your country and beleave me it is very pleasant too see driver with a tie.
20:24 February 26, 2010 by pjtaipale
Actually, necktie is called "kravatt" because it is originally a kind of scarf worn by Croatian soldiers; the fashion spread out from there all over Europe in the 17th century. I don't quite get how the driver can say that the necktie prevents him from covering his neck. It helps him cover his neck. If the bus is cold and the dress code forbids him to wear something reasonable that helps him keep warm, that is another thing.

I would understand this is a problem in the summer when it is really hot, but not now. It seems to be a simple case of unwillingness to adapt to a rather reasonable dress code.
20:49 February 26, 2010 by Viviane Varan
a far cry from Olaf Palm' s days sniff

The same story over and over throughout the ages:

in the 1300s the free masons in France were ordered to cut shave their beards and cut their hair short by the Cardinal of France if I remember well, the Free Masons did not apreciate the imposition and well they stood up and promessed to take down every single cathedral and church in France their Guild ever built...needless to say they kept their hair and beards, the decree was voided very shortly, solidarity ahhh well I guess it was the 1300s...I for one do not expect a bus driver to wear a tie, or anyone else for that matter, from a balistic poit of view, a tie is a hazard to limb and life in the hands of a strangler...whatever
21:31 February 26, 2010 by Frobobbles
No earthly force could make me wear a tie. It is a horrible phallos
22:35 February 26, 2010 by NJGirl
They are very few things that are more sexy than a man sharply dressed wearing a tie of course! What is with you Swedish men walking around dressed like bums? I recently met one of my Swedish friends - educated man with Ph D behind his name. He arrived by plane from Stockholm wearing old checkered flannel shirt and a pair of jeans. You blondies are a good liking buch but pleeeease lose those horrible flannel shirts!
00:17 February 27, 2010 by Beavis
Much as I dislike ties, if your supposed to wear one as part of your job.. its part of your job, so do it, and if it was too tight, why not loosten it. I think the bus driver has IQ problems more than anything else.

What I have more of an issue with is the juit, Sweden, Denark and Norway are the only place its worn (Jeans with a suit jacket) It looks ridiculous and you see people in management positions here wearing it all time, no where else in the world! Was it a fad from the 80's that never left Sweden?
02:53 February 27, 2010 by reason
If it's part of the dress code, you wear it or you find something else to do.
09:05 February 27, 2010 by mannorun
This dude should have some mental problems. This complain is just baseless, may be he doesn't want to work any more. There are people out there who would want to get the job as he clearly lacks anything to complain about.

Absolute madness and this can only happen in Sweden!!
10:23 February 27, 2010 by Britswedeguy
Dress codes are ridiculous- I thought Sweden was better than this!
12:48 February 27, 2010 by caradoc
so.there are jobs available for bus drivers willing to wear ties in Umeå. Yes please !!
13:14 February 27, 2010 by mbe
If the company asks for a tie then you wear it... done.. who really cares.. its a fn tie.. they have dress codes.. thats it .. dont like it quit... bored swedish workers have nothing better to complain about!!
20:01 February 27, 2010 by Hauhr
@calebian22, the pictures used in The Local articles are always library pictures from Scanpix, which at best have a vague connection to the subject of the article
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