Supporters back one of Manchester's first female bus drivers sacked for being 'too short'

Video report by ITV Granada Reports reporter Victoria Grimes

Protesters have rallied behind a bus driver from Greater Manchester who was dismissed from her role for being 'too short'.

Tracey Scholes - who is five foot tall - had been in the job 34 years but when Go North West repositioned the wing mirrors of their buses, she could no longer drive them safely.

The firm offered her an alternative role at the company on their school buses, which have suitable wing mirrors, but for less hours and a pay cut.

When the mother, from Heywood, in Rochdale, turned that offer down, her bosses - who say they have made attempts to keep her in the business - gave her notice.

Tracey Scholes was let go from her job of more than three decades for being "too short" to drive newer bus models. Credit: ITV News

Back in 1987, Tracey made history by becoming Manchester's first female bus driver at the Queens Road depot.

The 57-year-old is now fighting to keep the job that she knows and loves.

Along with the help of workers' union Unite, she launched a second appeal on Tuesday, 11 January, to keep her current hours - which would mean working just one extra hour a day.

There has been a swell of support for Tracey, not just from the North West and at the depot on Queens Road, but from across the world, where her story has made headlines.

She spoke of her pride as colleagues and strangers gathered to protest the bus company's decision.

Protesters show their support for bus driver Tracey Scholes.

She said: "Emotionally, my stomach is doing backflips. Very nervous, but I've come positive in the hope that I get my job back.

"It's been overwhelming. The support I've had from strangers, family, celebrities, everybody."

It could now be up to seven days before Tracey gets an answer from Go North West.

Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: "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."

In response, the bus company released this statement: "Go North West has worked hard to find a solution for the individual concerned by offering alternative vehicles, routes and schedules at a protected rate of pay.

"These include alternatives with equivalent weekly hours. All our proposals have been turned down.

 "We have sought a constructive dialogue on this issue and offered reasonable adjustments to working conditions.

"We regret the fact that our offers have been rejected.”