Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Independent: Arriva dismisses driver involved in incident with passenger: Company has zero-tolerance policy for violence of any sort
07 February 2012 by Francesca Vella

As a YouTube video of a fight between a bus driver and a passenger spread like wildfire on social networking websites yesterday, Arriva said the driver is no longer employed by the company. Allegedly, the incident was an attack against two girls in a relationship.

A spokesman said Arriva has a zero-tolerance policy for violence of any sort, and categorically condemns this incident, as well as any bullish, violent and anti-social behaviour. Moreover, the bus company said it has a very clear and open diversity policy which all employees are bound to respect.

The video was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday, but Arriva said the incident happened on Friday, and has already been investigated by the police, following a report having been filed by a third party.

Most of the 170-second video consists of audio alone; a number of people can be heard shouting, and an argument develops between a male bus driver and one of the passengers. The driver appears to invite the female passenger to a fight, and he is soon seen pushing her to the ground, outside the bus. Another woman is seen helping her get up.

Arriva pointed out that contrary to what the subtitles in the video say, the employee involved in the incident was not a dispatcher but a driver who was off-duty and on his way home after work. At the time therefore, the driver was using the bus as a passenger.

“Indeed, any action taken by this driver was taken on his own initiative. This driver is no longer employed with Arriva.

Meanwhile, Cyrus Engerer, from LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Labour, referred to the incident, saying that people’s mentality cannot change unless laws are changed. Such attacks can only stop if gay couples and homosexual families are legally recognised, he said, adding that basic laws regarding hate crime and hate speech that cover homophobic acts, also need to be introduced.

He noted that four years ago, in its electoral programme, the Nationalist Party had promised that a new PN government would add ‘sexual orientation’ as one of the sectors that the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality would work on.

This promise has not yet been implemented, said Mr Engerer, noting that no national entity is responsible for the education and promotion of diversity with respect to sexual orientation, said Mr Engerer.

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