Bus driver ‘sacked’ after 34 years on the job – for ‘being too short’

A bus driver has been given her notice by bosses after spending 34 years on the roads of Greater Manchester.

Tracey Scholes, from Heywood, has been left ‘heartbroken’ after Go North West bosses were no longer capable of driving the buses safely due to her height.

The 57-year-old has dealt with adversity throughout her bus driving career after becoming the first female to take the role in the district.

She is now appealing the decision with the help of her union, Unite, as reported by Manchester Evening News.

Tracey said: “This is heartbreaking. I’m a widow with three children, a house and a mortgage and it’s nearly Christmas.

“I’ve never had to involve the union before, I’ve never had a disciplinary, never been suspended.

“I’ve always gone to management myself with any issues and worked it through.”

The issue arose last month when Tracey was given her notice with the Unite union claiming it was due to the operator repositioning the wing mirrors.

The changes to the wing mirror mean that Tracey, who is 5ft, is too short to use them without taking her foot off the pedals.

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Go North West, who took over the service from First in 2019, offered Tracey an alternative role but both her hours and pay would be reduced.

She declined the offer and was handed a 12-week notice period as she appealed the decision.

The mirrors were replaced after some were deemed ‘broken’ according to Tracey, and bosses assigned her to routes with old-style mirrors after raising issues with her being unable to operate them without lifting her feet from the pedals.

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Her colleagues have since started a petition to try and help Tracey keep her job, which has over 1,700 signatures.

Tracey said: “I’m flabbergasted that they can just get rid of me after 34 years.

“I love my job, I don’t want to lose it. I have regular customers and a regular route."

A Unite the union spokesman said: “Go North West Ltd have refused to consider proposals from Tracey and her Unite trade union reps to keep her in employment.

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“This has resulted in her unfair dismissal from Go North West Ltd for capability to fulfil her role as a PCV driver.

“The company’s only resolution is to offer Tracey a position in the company that would see Tracey’s pay and hours cut significantly leaving her in financial hardship."

A spokesman from Go North West, which runs 16 routes, mostly in North Manchester, said: “We are extremely proud of our team of drivers who continue to perform excellent work keeping the people of Manchester moving.

"Unfortunately, a situation has arisen where we have had to bring a driver’s employment to an end. This is a complex case, and the appeals process is ongoing.

"Therefore, we are unable to comment further at this stage".

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