Bus driver in bitter fight for sartorial rights

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Peter Vinthagen Simpson - [email protected]
Bus driver in bitter fight for sartorial rights

Bus drivers in Umeå in northern Sweden have taken to the streets to protest uniform regulations requiring them to wear a tie to work.


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.

"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.


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