Back in the driving seat

Unite member and bus driver Tracey Scholes will continue to drive her bus after Go Ahead Group agrees to Unite’s demands

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Tracey Scholes, the first woman bus driver at the Manchester depot, will continue to drive her bus after her employer the Go Ahead Group finally agreed to Unite’s demand for her hours and her pay to be protected.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said, “Tracey Scholes is back in the driving seat where she belongs. Tracey’s supporters have good reason to celebrate. Go Ahead have finally come to their senses and agreed to Unite’s demand for Tracey’s hours and pay to be protected. 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.”

As UniteLive previously reported, Go North West, part of the Go Ahead Group, changed the specifications on some of their buses, essentially designing Tracey out of her job. The operator repositioned its wing mirrors resulting in five foot tall Tracey being physically unable to operate some buses. In November last year, Go North West ruled that Tracey no longer had the capability to drive some buses. 

Following an appeal, Tracey Scholes, 57, faced dismissal from her job unless she accepted losing 5 hours in pay a week. It meant she would have lost £230 a month. Tracey, a widow and a mother of three, needed the work and the money.

Tracey lodged a final appeal on Tuesday, January 11.  On January 17, Go North West offered her the 52 bus route with a guaranteed 25 hour working week. The offer, accepted by Tracey, was put on the table by Go North West for the first time.

Go Ahead’s Corporate Affairs team attempted to spin their way out of embarrassment, claiming that Tracey could have accepted this deal months ago. A Unite spokesperson responded, “To paraphrase the infamous Mandy Rice-Davies quote, they would, wouldn’t they?”

By Ciaran Naidoo

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