A BUS driver with more than 20 years’ experience has been sacked for having a coffee and sandwich in a pub on his lunch break.
Peter Jones, who lives in Eastbourne’s North Harbour, lost his job with Stagecoach when another bus driver spotted him in Wetherspoons on his lunch break on July 13.
The 50-year-old had met his partner at 1pm when another driver took over. The couple wandered around town looking for a place to eat before Mr Jones told his partner he was going to pop in to the Cornfield Road pub to use the toilet.
Mr Jones said, “Mr partner got talking to someone and then, I didn’t realise, but she bought two coffees and some food for us both and told me to sit down.
“Then, as we were walking out of the pub, someone recognised me and reported me to the supervisor.”
Mr Jones was not breathalysed but was immediately suspended from his job because the Stagecoach rule book states drivers must not enter licensed premises in their uniforms.
Mr Jones has appealed against Stagecoach’s decision twice and at the last hearing, last Friday (September 23), he found out he would not be allowed to return to work.
Although Mr Jones was aware of the company’s policy, he feels the rule is unworkable.
“Most cafes in Eastbourne and the many of the fish and chip shops are licensed,” said Mr Jones. “I have shown them the receipt which says we just ordered two coffees, a roll and egg and chips.
“They say they have provided a canteen but there is no food available in there.”
Mr Jones says he is now having to relocate so he can find work as a bus driver elsewhere.
Phil Medlicott, managing director of Stagecoach, confirmed it was against the rules for drivers to enter licensed premises in uniform but said he could not comment on individual cases.