A female bus driver sacked for being 'too short' to do her job has lost her first appeal to stay on at Go North West for the same hours and pay.
As reported by the Manchester Evening News earlier this month, Tracy Scholes, a 5ft widow and mum-of-three, was handed her notice after her employer repositioned all wing mirrors on her bus in such a way that would render her unable to use them at the same time she was reaching for the pedals.
This led to a ruling by Go North West that Tracy was no longer capable of performing her job and that her role was being terminated. Her last day at the firm is 5 February.
The firm offered her an alternative role at the company on their school buses, which have suitable wing mirrors, but for less hours and a cut rate of pay.
But when Tracy refused their offer, they responded by handing her her notice.
The Unite union claims that following an appeal, the firm have agreed to offer Tracey, 57, her current rate of pay back, but with reduced hours - resulting in a loss of £230 a month.
All the company needs to do is offer her an extra hour of work per day to bring her back to her current salary, but it has refused to do so.
Tracey, from Heywood, Greater Manchester, who was the first female driver at the depot when she started work 32 years ago, has vowed to keep fighting, and is lodging a second appeal in a bid to keep her current hours.
She is backed fully by Unite, which claims Tracey was 'designed out of her job' by the wing mirrors. Go North West claims it offered numerous proposals to accommodate Tracey, but they were all rejected.
Tracey, who says the stress of the process is taking an emotional toll on her health, told the Manchester Evening News: "If it justifies them paying me another hour a day I'll do admin work or clean a bus.
"If they gave me that extra five hours I'd take the deal but they won't budge.
"There are simple things they can do and they are refusing. I'm sure it wouldn't break the bank for them to pay me the hours they have been for years."
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: "Unite is determined to defend Tracey Scholes' right to keep her job.
"With 34 years' service Tracey does not deserve to be put through this terrible ordeal over Christmas. Unite will fight for its members' jobs, pay and conditions especially when an employer behaves in such a callous and disgraceful way.
"The management at Go North West only have to find Tracey one hour of work a day to solve this amicably. It's not much for Go North West but it's a lot for Tracey. 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."
A Go North West spokesman said: "Tracey was a valued member of our team at Go North West and we are extremely sorry to see her go. The design of the mirrors on our buses was agreed after consultation with Unite some time ago.
"All our other drivers of similar height to Tracey are able to view them safely.
"When Tracey raised a concern with us, we made numerous proposals to accommodate her, including offering to put her on different routes, and different types of buses. Unfortunately, all our suggestions were rejected.
"Dedicated, experienced, hardworking bus drivers are difficult to find and so we would never act lightly in a situation like this. We are sorry that we were left with no choice but to bring this driver's employment to an end."