Supporters of bus driver Tracey Scholes, the first woman bus driver at the Manchester depot who now faces dismissal, will be out in full force this Tuesday (January 11) to demand her reinstatement ahead of her final appeal against the blind intransigence of Go Ahead management.
So far over 25,000 have signed the petition calling for Tracey’s reinstatement and over a thousand people have written to the CEO Christian Schreyer calling on him to intervene.
Tomorrow’s appeal and demonstration comes as Go North West, part of the Go Ahead Group, changed the specifications on some of their buses, essentially designing Tracey out of her job because of her height. 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, 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 tomorrow (January 11). 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 international condemnation for its handling of the situation.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Tracey Scholes was the first woman bus driver at the Manchester depot. Her appointment broke the mould for women in the bus industry. She has given 34 years of unblemished service.
“It seems inconceivable, that due to the blind intransigence of its local management in Manchester, Go Ahead is now ready to watch unlimited damage to its international reputation as a result of the tawdry treatment of Tracey,” she added. “But that is exactly what is happening. From Poland to Turkey, from Norway to Indonesia, media reports have pilloried the bull-headed stance of local Go Ahead management.”
Unite regional officer Dave Roberts noted, “Go Ahead Group management can end this catastrophe by reinstating Tracey on full pay and full hours. Management only has to find Tracey one hour of work a day. If they fail to do so then they must recognise their reputation will be tarnished forever internationally and they will face the consequences of that as well as facing an unrelenting campaign to save Tracey’s job.”
You can join in to support Tracey tomorrow (January 11) from 1pm at Queens Road depot, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 0RX. You can also sign the petition to reinstate Tracey with no loss of pay or hours here.
By Ciaran Naidoo