Victory for bus driver who lost his job for being ‘too short’

A woman who lost her job after she was considered ‘too low’ to drive safely in buses after a redesign of the vehicle has finally been restored.

Tracey Scholes, 57, had been told she was unable to drive safely due to her height and was notified in November after rejecting alternative offers from her employer.

Go North West made changes to their vehicles, which meant she could no longer “reach the pedals to drive” without a blind spot.

READ MORE: ‘Go to the Northwest, listen to us. Just let Tracey drive her bus’: Protesters show their support for bus driver ‘fired for being too low’

She had worked as a bus driver in Manchester for 34 years and was the only female driver at the Queens Road depot and among the first to take on the role of Greater Manchester.

Tracey Scholes, 57, who is 5 feet tall (1.52m), was told she was unfit for her job after a bus reshuffle made her unable to perform her duties safely.

She desperately appealed for her job on January 11 after receiving her message, and now the bus company has said she has been reinstated.

She has “changed her mind” and has accepted an offer of a new proposal to run different buses, the company’s HR director has reportedly said.

The union congress announced that the decision was made after she won her appeal against her dismissal.

And Manchester City Council leader Cllr Bev Craig also tweeted about the news this evening, adding: “By 2022, there is power in a union. So make sure you are in a union.”

Scott Maynard, the company’s HR director, said in a statement that the company was pleased that a “valued and long-term driver” was to stay at Go North West.

He added that Mrs Scholes would start earlier to allow her to pick up a bus with side mirrors according to her preference.

Her weekly hours and pay will not change, the BBC reported tonight.

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

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“The company has no height restrictions on recruitment and has multiple drivers of the same height or lower than Tracey.

“It is categorically untrue that we would or could have threatened someone with firing because of altitude.”

The reason, Unite the union claims, was that when the operator had moved his side mirrors, Tracey was considered too short to use them while reaching the pedals.

Last month, Unite claims executives ruled that Tracey no longer had the ‘ability’ to safely drive their buses and offered her an alternative role in the company, but for fewer hours and pay.

However, she declined the offer and was given 12 weeks notice, a decision which she appealed.

Thousands signed a petition calling for Mrs Scholes to be reinstated, and supporters gathered outside the Queens Road bus depot in Cheetham Hill, where the appeal hearing took place last week.

The Manchester Evening News has contacted Go North West for information and has approached the Unite bus union, who said they would respond to the news in due course.

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