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A woman who has been working as a bus driver for 34-years says she has been fired from her job because she’s too short.
Tracey Scholes has worked at the Queens Road depot in Cheetham Hill, Greater Manchester for more than three decades, but was given her notice last month.
Union Unite claims she was let go because bus firm Go North West has repositioned the wing mirrors on its buses, meaning Five foot-tall Tracey is now too short to use them at the same time as the pedals.
Last month, Unite the Union claims bosses ruled that Tracey no longer had the 'capability' to safely drive their buses and offered her an alternative role at the company, but for less hours and pay.
Tracey declined the offer and was given 12 weeks' notice. She has now launched an appeal over the decision.
Tracey, 57, from Heywood, 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.”
Tracey claimed the company began replacing broken ‘branch’ mirrors to the side of the windscreen with side mirrors around two years ago.
When Tracey attempted to drive the buses with the new style of mirror, she had to lean around a pillow in the cab to see it, meaning her feet were off the pedals.
She said: “It’s one of the most important pieces of equipment on the bus. You need it to turn a corner or pull into a bus stop. When you turn you need to watch that mirror to see the angles on the back wheel so you don’t clip a curb.
“For years I could drive everything in the garage. But I was running out of buses I could drive.”
She added: "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. "
Tracey’s colleagues have since launched a petition which has more 1,700 signatures.
A Unite the Union spokesman said: “Tracey is a hardworking, loved and a valued member of the NW /5/4 Branch and the Queens Road family who deserves to be commended for her years of service to the traveling public of Greater Manchester.
“However, Go North West Ltd has dismissed her from employment because they changed the manufacturer specification on their fleet of buses resulting in five foot tall Tracey being physically unable to operate company vehicles safely.
“Go North West Ltd have refused to consider proposals from Tracey and her Unite trade union reps to keep her in employment.
“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".
Featured Image Credit: MEN Media
Topics: UK News
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