Train conductor wrongfully dismissed. Image: corriere.it

Enthusiastic Train Conductor Wrongfully Dismissed

Business News

An Italian train conductor who issued 5,000 fines was wrongfully dismissed a court ruled. Francesco Bonanno was accused of terrorising passengers by working with ‘uncommon zeal’.

Francesco Bonanno, 61, was dismissed for “terrorising” passengers. He handed out a record number of fines within the space of a couple of years as he controlled northern routes on Trenitalia trains.

The conductor said his “nightmare is over” after the country’s top court ruled he was wrongfully dismissed. Trenitalia laid him off in 2017 after receiving a deluge of complaints from unhappy customers. It cost the company around €10,000 in reimbursements for fines the company argued had been issued arbitrarily and for incorrect amounts.

Bonanno, who lives Veneto, fined passengers for various infractions, such as boarding a train without a ticket, failing to date-stamp it or for travelling on incorrect routes.

Back to work with rigour

Bonanno officially returned to work after the supreme court said he must be “reintegrated” back into the company. However, the court also described the conductor as someone who worked with “uncommon zeal” and was “inflexible”. Despite this, the court ruled Bonanno was only doing his job, albeit in an “extremely meticulous way”.

In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Bonanno denied he was “ruthless” despite admitting to issuing a record 5,000 fines.

“I’m not a bounty hunter, but at work you need rigour, and I have to ensure that all passengers travel with a valid ticket,” Bonanno added. “I am never authoritarian or a bully; the passengers love me.”

Bonanno has been a train conductor for 38 years. His lawyer, Lucio Spampatti, said he had never heard of someone being fired because they worked too much. “If you think about it, this story is paradoxical. We’re talking about a train conductor, who as a result of discovering passengers without a ticket, earned the company more than €200,000.”

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