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Manchester: Bus driver sacked ‘for being too short’ after 34 years of service

Tracey Scholes was the first and only woman driver at the depot when she started in 1987 (Image: MEN Media)

A woman who drove a bus longer than many living adults has been fired ‘for being too short’.

Tracey Scholes, 5 feet tall, was the first and only female driver at the Queens Road depot in Greater Manchester when she started in 1987.

She has seen many changes at the site, which didn’t even have a women’s restroom when she started.

But now she has been told to quit her job for three months because she is no longer able to drive a bus.

Tracey, 57, says this is because company Go North West Ltd, recently changed the position of the wing mirrors on the bus, meaning she struggles to see them while keeping her feet on the table bicycle.

More than 1,000 people have now signed a petition started by her colleagues for the company to keep her.

She said the company started replacing broken ‘branch’ mirrors on the side of the windshield with side mirrors, about two years ago.

When Tracey tries to drive these buses, she’ll have to lean against a pole on the taxi’s screen to look in the mirror, meaning her foot lifts off the pedals.

She has worked at the warehouse since 1987 (Image: MEN Media)

She said that Tracey caught the attention of management, and bosses assigned routes for her to drive a first- and two-story double-decker with old-fashioned mirrors.

But the mother of three says she’ll increasingly be on time to find the tough winged mirrors.

“It’s one of the most important pieces of equipment on a bus,” she said. “You need it to turn a corner or pull over at a bus stop.”

She said that the company offered her an alternative role, but it was less time and lower salary so she turned it down.

Tracey, from Heywood, said: ‘This is heartbreaking. I’m a widow with three kids, a house and a mortgage and Christmas is coming.

‘I’ve never been involved in a union before, never been disciplined, never been suspended.’

The decision hurt her as she worked there for decades, first with First bus and then with Go North West, when they took over in 2019.

“I’m amazed they can get rid of me after 34 years,” she said.

‘I love my job, I don’t want to lose it. I have regular customers and a steady track record. ‘

She is a widow and a mother of three and says that without a job she would struggle to pay her bills (Image: MEN Media)

Tracey was touched by the support from her colleagues.

‘I work with such a great team. They are lovely,’ she said.

‘I’ve been very supportive with this. It just blew me away. ‘

She has even been linked to celebrities like Maxine Peake and Corrie star Julie Hesmondhalgh, she said.

A Unite spokesman said: ‘Tracey is a hard-working, loved and valued member of the NW/5/4 Branch and Queens Road family who deserves commendation for her years serving the public of Greater Manchester.

‘However Go North West Ltd fired her from her job because they had changed the manufacturer’s specifications on their fleet of buses, which resulted in the 5-foot-tall Tracey being unable to operate her vehicles. company safely.

‘Go North West Ltd has refused to consider proposals from Tracey and her union representative Unite to keep her employed.

‘This has resulted in her being unfairly sacked by Go North West Ltd for potentially fulfilling her role as a PCV driver.

‘The company’s only workaround was to offer Tracey a position within the company that would result in a substantial cut in Tracey’s wages and hours leaving her in financial straits.’

A spokesman for Go North West, which operates 16 routes, mainly in North Manchester, said: ‘We are incredibly proud of our team of drivers who continue to do the job. Excellent for keeping the people of Manchester moving.

‘Unfortunately, a situation arose where we were forced to terminate a driver’s job. This is a complicated case and the appeals process is ongoing.

‘We are therefore unable to comment further at this stage’.

Contact our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check out our news page.

https://metro.co.uk/2021/12/05/manchester-bus-driver-sacked-for-being-too-short-after-34-years-of-service-15719953/ Manchester: Bus driver sacked 'for being too short' after 34 years of service

Huynh Nguyen

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