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Bus driver, 57, sacked for ‘being too short’ sent support messages from celebs

Celebrities including Bolton-born actress Maxine Peake and Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh have sent messages of support to bus driver Tracey Scholes – who is locked in an employment battle with bus operator Go North West Ltd

Tracey Scholes was one of the first females on the job when she started driving buses in Greater Manchester 34 years ago

A bus driver sacked for “being too short” says she is “overwhelmed” after receiving heartwarming messages of support from local celebrities.

Widowed mum Tracey Scholes, 57, was one of the first women driving buses in Greater Manchester when she started 34 years ago.

But last month, bosses at bus operator Go North West Ltd gave Tracey her notice – ruling that she was no longer tall enough to safely drive their vehicles, according to Unite the Union.

The trade union said Tracey was offered an alternative role in the company, but one with fewer hours and less pay – which would leave her in “financial hardship”.

Tracey was handed her 12-week notice after refusing the new position. She is now appealing the decision, Manchester Evening News reports.

In the days since her battle was made public, Bolton-born actress Maxine Peake, Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh, and actor James Quinn, have all got in touch to offer words of support, Tracey said.

“I could have never expected anything like this,” she said.

Tracey said she’s “emotional” and “overwhelmed” after receiving so many messages of support

She refused an offer of a different role, which would have been for less hours and pay

“I’m overwhelmed and so emotional with it at the minute.

“People are getting in touch with me who I don’t even know.

“It’s been absolutely lovely to get that response, it’s like one big family.”

As part of the fight for Tracey to keep her job, her colleagues have started a petition which now has more than 1,700 signatures.

A Unite the union spokesman said: “Tracey is a hardworking, loved and a valued member of the NW /5/4 Branch and the Queens Road family who deserves to be commended for her years of service to the traveling public of Greater Manchester.

“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.

A petition for Tracey to keep her job has gathered 1700 signatures

“Go North West Ltd have refused to consider proposals from Tracey and her Unite trade union reps to keep her in employment.

“This has resulted in her unfair dismissal from Go North West Ltd for capability to fulfil her role a 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.”

A spokesman from Go North West, which runs 16 routes, mostly in North Manchester, said: “We are extremely proud of our team of drivers who continue to perform excellent work 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”.

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