£75,000 payout for sacked bus driver
BUS DRIVER Robert Latimer last week won £75,000 in compensation for being sacked for taking time off to recover from serious injuries after being attacked by a drunken passenger.
Latimer, from Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, was working in London at the time, driving a route notorious for assaults and abuse, according to his solicitors, when an aggressive passenger swung a bag of beer bottles at him.
The 63-year-old said: “I pushed myself against the cab window as far as I could because I knew what was coming, but it didn’t really help.
“He broke my arm in two places and damaged the muscle and ligaments in my shoulder.
“I kicked him in the face and kicked him out of the door of the bus.
“I got his hat and the police did a full DNA scan but he hasn’t been caught yet.”
Robert, who has lived in Sunderland all his life, moved to work in London after the bus bombings because there was a driver shortage and the wages were higher.
After the attack his doctor signed him off work and he sent letters from his GP to his employer, Travel London, but they stopped paying his salary and sick pay.
They kept contacting him to ask why he was not at work, and even though he was back in Sunderland they demanded he attend meetings in London.
Robert put in personal injury and unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claims. He was supported throughout by his trade union, GMB Northern, and their solicitors.
The bus company alleged Robert was the aggressor and attacked the passenger, even though Metropolitan Police reports showed otherwise.
Tommy Brennan, GMB Northern secretary, said: “Travel London has behaved appallingly and have showed complete disregard for the law in treating Robert Latimer in this disgraceful way.
“He was a victim of a serious crime and yet not only did they try to paint him as the aggressor, they refused to talk to the GMB or to give our member the right of a grievance hearing and to appeal against his sacking.”
Travel London has admitted it should have fitted Perspex screens to protect drivers, but refused to admit its failure to do so made it liable.
Science Museum staff dispute
STAFF at the National Science Museum last week have voted overwhelmingly to strike over pay and plans to close the civil service pension scheme to new members.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) working for the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI) are furious that a below inflation pay offer has been imposed on them at a successful time for the museum.
Over 85 per cent of PCS members taking part voted to strike and over 70 per cent voted for industrial action short of a strike. Their colleagues who are members of Prospect also strongly backed industrial action in their ballot.
NMSI, which includes the Science Museum in London, also operates a trading company to generate income, and made an operating profit of over £1 million last year, exceeding its target by over 14 per cent.
Staff in the trading company are on worse terms and conditions than museum staff, including having no access to civil service pensions.
Other museums affected are the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, the National Railway Museum in York, and the Science Museum Swindon in Wiltshire.
Greenpeace protestors target Heathrow
FIVE MEMBERS of Greenpeace last week made their way through security at Heathrow airport last Monday to clamber on top of a newly-landed Boeing 777 airliner and unfurl a protest banner against plans for a third runway at the airport.
The protest continued for an hour after which the campaigners were arrested. But Heathrow authorities were embarrassed about the breach in their “anti-terrorist” security.
Protester Sarah Shoraka said she was surprised at how easily they had breached the airport’s security. She said she and her companions walked on to the taxiway after finding a set of security doors ajar. “The door was broken so there was no security. Once we got to doors and saw that they were partly open, we walked through calmly,” she said.
“Aviation is a huge polluter and yet the Government wants to double the size of Heathrow, which is already massive.”
The protest coincided with a demonstration in Whitehall against plans to expand Heathrow.