By Sam Ord
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2788

Protest over sacking of woman bus driver in Manchester

Her supporters joined a protest on Tuesday at her final appeal hearing
Issue 2788
Thirty people with placards supporting Go Ahead Manchester bus driver Tracey Scholes

Protesters gathered on Tuesday (Pic: Geoff Brown)

Bus driver Tracey Scholes is facing dismissal by Go Ahead bosses for being too short. Now she and her colleagues are demanding that Go Ahead immediately reinstate her on full hours and pay.

Many people are outraged at Go North West, the regional organisation of company Go Ahead, for the height restriction that will mostly target women.

Tracey faced her final appeal on Tuesday at the Queens Road, Manchester depot. Around 100 workers and local people marched alongside her to the gate where they protested against management’s decision.

Protesters chanted, “Go North West, listen to us, just let Tracey drive her bus.”

Tracey was the first woman bus driver at the Manchester depot and has been in the profession for 34 years. 

The new height restriction comes after the company altered the position of the bus wing mirrors. This forced Tracey to look behind a post and remove her feet from the pedals to view them.

She faces dismissal from her job unless she accepts losing five hours’ pay a week. This would mean 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, can’t accept any cut in pay.

She and her colleagues have described the profession as a man’s business. Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, she said, “I tolerated comments, sexist remarks and much more. I never complained to management, I solved it for myself and kept going.”

But now many activists and workers claim Go Ahead have worsened the feeling that busses are built for men.

Currently over 25,000 people have signed the petition calling for Tracey’s reinstatement and over a thousand people have written to Go Ahead boss Christian Schreyer. 

The protest, petition and letters are part of a campaign launched by Tracey’s union, Unite, to support her fight.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Tracey Scholes’ 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.”

The campaign has exposed how sexism in the workplace comes from decisions made at the top. Socialists, trade unionists and women’s rights campaigners must escalate the fight.


Sign the petition for Tracey’s reinstatement here

 

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