Go North West refutes wrongdoing as driver reinstated

Go North West denies the reinstatement of its driver Tracey Scholes is due to trade union Unite winning its campaign for her return behind the wheel. The company says it is categorically untrue that it would or could dismiss anyone on grounds of height.

A campaign by Unite claimed Tracey was unfairly dismissed due to being too short. Go North West described the campaign as ‘deeply misleading’.

The dismissal followed changes made to wing mirrors that meant being positioned to reach the pedals meant she would not be able to check her blind spot. The campaign claimed she was dismissed for being too short for the new bus layout. When the issue arose, Go North West says it sought constructive dialogue and offered what it describes as reasonable adjustments to her working practices. The company notes it was only when multiple proposals were rejected that disciplinary action was taken.

The Go-Ahead-owned operator says Tracey has decided to accept an offer to drive different buses that was originally put forward by the company in September 2021.

In her updated role at Go North West, Tracey is starting her daily duties earlier in the morning, allowing her to pick up a bus with wing mirrors of her preference, rather than taking on a vehicle mid-route. Weekly hours and rates of pay will be unchanged, as per a proposal made by Go North West in September.

Go North West stresses it has no height restrictions on recruitment and has multiple drivers of the same height, or below, as Tracey.

Despite Go North West’s assertions, Unite heralded the return of Tracey to work as a success. Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “It is a great victory and a testimony to Tracey’s spirit, and the solidarity of all her union colleagues, to secure this change of mind by her Go-Ahead employers.

“The bus company could have avoided all the damage to its reputation here and all over the globe. Instead, the company allowed its local management to procrastinate and blunder. As the first woman bus driver at the Manchester depot, with 34 years unblemished service, Tracey deserved to be treated with dignity. It’s terrific news that she can continue to drive her bus.”

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