A five-foot bus driver has lost an appeal after she was dismissed because she could not use the wing mirrors safely.
Go North West changed the position of their buses’ wing mirrors meaning mother-of-three Tracey Scholes, 57, had to lean around a pillar to see them, meaning she could not keep her feet on the pedals.
Mrs Scholes, a widow with 34 years’ experience, was offered a different role on the company’s school buses, which had more suitable mirrors, but the change would have meant a reduction in pay and hours worked.
She turned down the offer and she was given notice. The business said they had made ‘numerous proposals’ to keep her in the company.
After an appeal, with Mrs Scholes garnering support from a string of celebrities, the company agreed to offer the bus driver her current pay rate but with reduced hours, meaning she would still be losing £230 a month, the Unite union said.
Mrs Scholes, from Heywood, is now making a second appeal to keep her current hours – which would mean working just one extra hour a day.
Go North West changed the position of their buses’ wing mirrors meaning m other-of-three Tracey Scholes, 57, could not use them while keeping her feet on the pedals
When Mrs Scholes tried to drive the buses, she had to lean around a pillar on the cab assault screen to see the mirror
She 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.’
Go North West said in a statement: ‘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.
Mrs Scholes, a widow with 34 years’ experience, was offered a different role on the company’s school buses, which had more suitable mirrors, but the change would have meant a reduction in pay and hours worked
‘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.’
In a statement titled ‘You’re too short – so either we’ll cut your pay or sack you!’, Unite warned Go North West that it ‘must reinstate bus driver Tracey Scholes on full pay and hours’.
The statement said: ‘Last month, Go North West ruled that Tracey no longer had the capability to drive some buses.
‘Following an appeal, Tracey Scholes, 57, faces dismissal from her job unless she accepts losing 5 hours in pay a week.
‘It means she’ll lose £230 a month driving school buses where the wing mirrors have not been repositioned. Tracey, a widow and a mother of three, needs the work and the money.
‘Tracey will lodge a final appeal this week, however her union Unite is warning Go North West that it will defend Tracey’s right to keep her job. Management only needs to find Tracey one hour of work a day.
‘Go North West is already facing widespread condemnation for its handling of the situation. Unite is pledging to ramp up its campaign to protect Tracey’s hours.’
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham 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.’