Tracey Scholes, who is 57 years old and five feet tall, says she was one of the few women to hold the position when she started driving buses in 1987.
On her first day at work in Greater Manchester, she remembers being given a cold welcome and said there weren’t even a ladies’ toilets on the site, as reported by The Mirror.
However, Tracey remained at the depot as an employee of First Bus, and then Go North West, when they took over in 2019, and it was devastating for her when she received her notice last month.
Unite Union claims the reason is because, since the service repositioned her exterior mirrors, Tracey is now considered too small to use them at the same time she hits the pedals.
Unite says Tracey was told she no longer had the “ability” to drive buses safely and was offered another role in the company, but for less hours and less pay.
Tracey declined and was given 12 weeks’ notice, a decision she is now appealing.
Tracey, 57, of Heywood, said: “It’s heartbreaking. I am a widow with three children, a house and a mortgage and it is almost Christmas.
“I have never had to involve the union before, I have never had a disciplinary sanction, I have never been suspended.
“I always went into management myself with all the issues and worked on them. “
Tracey said the company started replacing broken “branch” mirrors on the side of the windshield with side mirrors about two years ago.
When Tracey tried to drive these buses, she had to lean around a pillar on the cabin assault screen to see the mirror, which meant her feet were coming off the pedals.
Tracey brought this to management’s attention and bosses gave her routes by driving people carriers and double decks with the old-fashioned mirrors, she says.
Tracey was recently assigned route 93 from Shudehill to Prestwich, and says she would be arriving more and more on shift to find the tricky mirrors.
“It’s one of the most important pieces of equipment on the bus. You need it to turn a corner or park in a bus stop. As you turn you have to look at that mirror to see the angles on the rear wheel so you don’t cut into a sidewalk, ”Tracey said.
“For years, I was able to drive everything in the garage. But I ran out of buses that I could drive.
She added: “I am amazed that they can 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 was moved by the outpouring of support from her colleagues.
“I work with such a great group of guys. They are adorable, ”she said.
“I had huge support with it. It just blew me away.
As part of the fight to keep Tracey employed, her colleagues launched a petition that now has more than 1,700 signatures.
A spokesperson for Unite the Union said: “Tracey is a hardworking, loved and 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 the United States. Greater Manchester.
“However, Go North West Ltd fired her because they changed the manufacturer’s specifications for their fleet of buses, leaving five-foot-tall Tracey physically unable to operate company vehicles. safely.
“Go North West Ltd has refused to consider proposals from Tracey and her Unite union representatives to keep her in her job.
“This resulted in her unfair dismissal from Go North West Ltd for her ability to fulfill her role as a PCV driver.
“The only resolution of the company is to offer Tracey a position with the company which would see Tracey’s salary and hours drastically reduced, leaving her in financial difficulties. “
A spokesperson for Go North West, which operates 16 routes mainly in North Manchester, said: “We are extremely proud of our team of drivers who continue to do a great job of keeping the people of Manchester on the move.
“Unfortunately, a situation arose where we had to terminate the employment of a driver. This is a complex case and the appeal process is ongoing.
“Therefore, we are not in a position to comment further at this stage.”
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