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Updated at 9:05 pm on 5 July 2011
A New Zealand bus company says two drivers who would not let Saudi Arabian women on board unless they removed their Muslim veils will be fired if they do it again.
Saudi Arabia Consul-General Ahmed Al Johani has written to the Human Rights Commission saying he is not happy with the way the two women were treated during separate incidents in Auckland in May.
NZ Bus says it has contacted the commission which has offered to mediate between the company and the women.
The company's spokesperson, Jon Calder, says both drivers acted that way towards the women because they have a fear of not being able to see a person's face.
"Both of our drivers have been adamant that this was not based on any racial, religious or ethnic grounds; that they both have issues relating to not being able to see a person's face."
Mr Calder says the drivers have been given a final written warning and will lose their jobs if the behaviour is repeated.
The Tramways and Public Transport Union represents bus drivers and says it does not support denying women entry if they are wearing veils.
National secretary Gary Froggatt says drivers are not given any training in cultural or religious protocols - and the recent incidents highlight the need for this.
Mr Froggatt says if bus drivers fear for their safety they are told to stop the bus and call for assistance.
"Every passenger has the right to board the bus without any problems. If the driver does have concerns about a passenger that might affect his safety, it mainly relates to people who are under the influence or alcohol and or drugs."
Prime Minister John Key says people's spiritual and cultural beliefs should be respected.
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