Bus driver sacked for 'being too short' given job back after groundbreaking appeal

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Tracey Scholes from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was devastated after losing her job, but she has now been reinstated by Go North West. A bus redesign had meant the 57-year-old, who is 5ft (1.52m) tall, was left unable to do her job safely.

Changes to the wing mirrors led to Tracey, who has been on the buses for 34 years, not being able to reach the pedals without a blind spot appearing.

Forced to lean around a pillar to see into the mirrors, she was unable to keep her feet on the pedals.

Tracey was offered a different role on the company’s school buses, which were fitted with more suitable mirrors, but the change would have resulted in cuts to her pay and hours.

She turned down the offer and was given notice by the bus operator.

Tracey told the Guardian: “I’ve had comments, sexual remarks, a lot of things. And I’ve dealt with that. I’ve not gone to management – I’ve gone and solved it and hit it head on.

“When I started that job 34 years ago, I could drive everything in that depot.

“And since they’ve done this, I can’t drive that bus now. If a bicycle or pedestrian was to walk up the near side of the vehicle… I can’t see that, it blocks my vision and that’s not safe.”

She added: “I’ve got three children, I’m a widow and I’ve got a mortgage to pay. I can’t take a pay cut.”

The business argued it had made numerous proposals to keep her in the company, but she launched an appeal, which garnered support from celebrities including actress Maxine Peak, urging the company to keep her current pay and hours.

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“Instead, the company seems hell-bent on confrontation. Tracey has her union’s full support and I am ready to ramp up Unite’s campaign.”

Tracey launched her appeal on January 11 with crowds of supporters gathering outside the Queens Road bus depot in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, where the hearing took place.

The bus company has said it is glad Tracey has accepted a deal to drive other buses.

Go North West’s HR director Scott Maynard said in a statement the company was pleased a valued and long-serving driver was to stay with Go North West after deciding to accept an offer to drive different buses as per a proposal made in September.

Under the new deal, Tracey will start earlier to allow her to pick up a bus with her preferred wing mirrors.

Her weekly hours and rate of pay are to remain unchanged.

Mr Maynard added: “We have said from the start that we wanted to keep Tracey and we are glad that she has changed her mind and decided to stay.”

He said the company operates no height restrictions on recruitment and has multiple drivers of the same height, or below, as Tracey.

The HR director said: “It is categorically untrue that we would, or could, have threatened anybody with dismissal on grounds of height.”



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