KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — A female bus driver from the United Kingdom was left baffled after she was given 12 weeks’ notice from her employer due to her height.
Speaking to portal Manchester Evening News, 57-year-old Tracey Scholes said that she has worked with the bus operator for 34 years and she was the only woman driver there when she first joined the company.
Scholes initially started working with the Manchester bus provider back in 1987, which at that time was ‘First Bus’, but the company was taken over by Go North West Ltd in 2019.
The new operator had recently replaced almost all of their bus’s ‘branch’ mirrors with side mirrors due to most of its ‘branch’ mirrors being broken.
However, the repositioning of the side mirrors turns out to be a challenge for five-foot Scholes who had trouble trying to reach her pedals whenever she tried to look at the mirrors.
This has led the company to rule that Scholes no longer had the ‘capability’ to safely drive their buses and offered her another role but for less hours and pay.
Scholes who declined the offer was given a 12-weeks-notice which she is now appealing with the help of UK’s union trade, Unite The Union.
“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.
"I’m flabbergasted that they can just get rid of me after 34 years,” she said, adding that she loves her job and her regular customers.
In support of Scholes and her fight to keep her job, Scholes’ colleagues have started a petition which now has over 1,700 signatures.
A spokesperson from Unite The Union said that Scholes is a hardworking and valued member of the company and she deserves to be commended for her years of services.
“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.
“This has resulted in her unfair dismissal from Go North West Ltd for capability to fulfill her role as a (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) 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,” the Unite The Nation’s spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, in light of the issue, Go North West Ltd through their spokesperson said that they’re proud of their team of drivers who excel at ‘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,” Go North West Ltd’s spokesperson said.