Scholes, 57, lost her job at the end of last year after 34 years, as it turned out that in the new bus model introduced for use on her route, her 152 cm of height is not enough to lean back and look in the rearview mirror, she can reach the pedals .
“When I started this job 34 years ago, I was able to drive everything in this depot. And since they made this shift, I can’t drive this bus. If a bicycle or a pedestrian would be close to the side of the vehicle, I can’t see it, and it’s not safe.”
After reporting these concerns to her employer, Go North West, she was initially suspended and then dismissed with 12 weeks’ notice. Scholes said that thanks to her support from the Unite union, the company was offering the opportunity to travel on other routes on buses that it is able to drive, but with fewer hours and for a lower wage. “I have three children, I am a widow, and I have a mortgage to pay off. I cannot accept any cuts in wages,” says Scholes. She will face a final appeal against this decision on Tuesday.
In an interview with Guardian, she describes the hurdles she has had to overcome over the years to be able to work as a driver – during her first interview, she was informed that there were no women’s toilets in the depot and asked how she would deal with the “bad words” used by other drivers. She had to find solutions to the physical challenges of working pregnant as well as deal with sexual harassment.
She endured it all without complaining to management as she wanted to “pave the way for women to come and drive the buses”, but now she admits that the company’s decision to fire her because she was too small broke her heart.. On the other hand, support from colleagues and from over 13,000 of those who signed the petitions on her is uplifting.
A spokesman for Go North West said Scholes was a valued member of the team and had received numerous offers, but they were rejected. “The design of the mirrors on our buses was agreed after consulting with Unite some time ago. All our other drivers similar to Tracey’s height are able to use them safely. Committed, experienced and hardworking bus drivers are hard to find, so we would never act recklessly. in such a situation. We are sorry that we did not have a choice and had to terminate the employment of this driver, “he said. The company also said it is working to improve the increase in the number of women at all levels, with an emphasis on driver positions. Its goal is to increase the number of female bus drivers from 11 percent by 2025. up to 20 percent
Source: niezalezna.pl, PAP