Portsmouth minibus driver's fight to 'save Christmas' after boss bans staff from wearing festive jumpers

A MINIBUS driver – who describes himself as a ‘bonkers rebel’ – has launched a battle to ‘save Christmas’ after his boss banned him from wearing festive jumpers behind the wheel.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 4:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 7:02 pm

Mike Osborn is a driver with Pete’s Airlink, a minibus service in Portsmouth, and has branded his boss, Peter Bryden, a ‘Scrooge’ for his ‘bah humbug’ take on the Yuletide knits.

The eccentric 68-year-old is now determined to try and sprinkle some Christmas magic and persuade Mr Bryden to ditch his rules, which have been rolled out company-wide.

However, Peter insisted there was a good reason for the decision to ban the brightly-coloured knitted threads, insisting it was to prevent his customers with special needs from becoming frightened.

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Mike Osborn Picture: Sarah Standing (261119-2377)

‘This is really absurd,’ said Mike, who sported a red festive jumper with a Christmas pudding emblazoned on it. ‘I love Peter, he is a great boss but I can’t believe what he is saying here.

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‘It’s like something Fagin or Scrooge would do. It’s almost like Fawlty Towers – it’s ridiculous.’

All the drivers working for Pete’s Airlink have been told to wear their official uniforms.

Mike Osborn from Southsea Picture: Sarah Standing (261119-2383)

However, Mike – who has previously worked as an estate agent, travel agent and IT specialist at Solent University – said other travel companies allowed staff to wear festive attire.

‘Stagecoach has a Santa’s grotto on four wheels with elves, it’s fantastic,’ he said. ‘They don’t scare passengers. I’ve even seen Pudsey Bear driving a bus the other day.’

Peter denied he was a ‘Scrooge’ and said he ‘wasn’t against Christmas’ but refused to bend the rules.

He said: ‘We have to be careful. We don’t want to spoil drivers’ fun but we have rules and regulations that we have to follow.

‘One of the biggest concerns is around having Christmas decorations on our minibuses. If anything obscuring your view, an inspector can pull up our drivers for this and fine them.

‘We also transport a number of children with special needs that we need to be considerate of. We don’t want to do anything that might upset them.’

Mike said he could understand his boss’s point of view and added: ‘I will stick by Peter’s rules though. I don’t want to lose my job. I have lost so many jobs in the past and I really love this one.

‘But I still think the Christmas jumper ban is so stupid and daft. It’s hilarious.’

Asked if he was bonkers, he told The News: ‘Yes, I suppose I am. I’m a non-conformist, rebel. I’m not employable really – I’ve been my own boss for a long time.’