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More than 25,000 people sign petition to reinstate female bus driver sacked for being ‘too short’

Tracey Scholes had driven buses across Manchester for over three decades before she lost her job

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Tracey Scholes / Facebook & Wikimedia Commons

More than 25,000 people have signed a petition in support of a five-foot tall bus driver who was sacked because she was ‘not tall enough’ to use the wing mirrors safely.

Fifty-seven-year-old Tracey Scholes has driven buses for thirty-four years and was one of the first female bus drivers in Manchester. However, when Go North West changed the model of bus used on her route, the mother-of-three was found to lack the ‘capability’ to drive the vehicles safely.

The position of the new buses’ wing mirrors meant that Tracey, from Heywood, had to lean around a pillar to see them, meaning she could not keep her feet safely on the pedals. 

Because of this, Tracey was offered a different position driving the company’s school buses, though it would mean a reduction in hours worked and pay.

Tracey Scholes / Facebook

The company also offered the bus driver her current pay rate but with reduced hours, which meant she would still be losing around £230 a month, the Unite union said. She turned down both positions and was subsequently given her notice.

Tracey’s story was quick to go viral and has since gained the support of celebrities including actors Maxine Peake, Julie Hesmondhalgh and James Quinn. And now, a petition set up in support of Tracey has gained a massive 26,784 signatures at the time of writing.

The petition’s objective states that it is calling on the company ‘to reinstate Tracey Scholes with no loss of pay/no loss of hours and show that ‘Go-Ahead Group’ values loyal key workers’.

The description reads: “Tracey Scholes has been a bus driver at the Queens Road depot for the past 34 years. When Tracey started her journey as a bus driver in 1987 she was the first female bus driver employed at the Queens Road depot.

“The industry back then was very male dominated and a woman taking a driving position was challenging to say the least however Tracey took the challenge and has had the full respect of all her colleagues.

“Tracey is a hardworking, loved and 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.”

Tracey has described the support as ‘overwhelming’, with her telling The Guardian: “I’ve got three children, I’m a widow, and I’ve got a mortgage to pay. I can’t take a pay cut.

“When I started that job thirty-four years ago, I could drive everything in that depot. And since they’ve done this, I can’t drive that bus now.

“If a bicycle or pedestrian was to walk up the near side of the vehicle … I can’t see that, it blocks my vision, and that’s not safe.”

Go North West has since addressed the incident, saying in a statement: “Tracey was a valued member of our team at Go North West and we are extremely sorry to see her go. The design of the mirrors on our buses was agreed after consultation with Unite some time ago. All our other drivers of similar height to Tracey are able to view them safely.

“When Tracey raised a concern with us, we made numerous proposals to accommodate her, including offering to put her on different routes, and different types of buses. Unfortunately, all our suggestions were rejected.

“Dedicated, experienced, hardworking bus drivers are difficult to find and so we would never act lightly in a situation like this. We are sorry that we were left with no choice but to bring this driver’s employment to an end.”

For more information and to pledge your support, visit the petition here.

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Shocking comparison between England Lionesses’ wages and their male counterparts

It is hoped that the success of the Women’s Euros will close the gender pay gap

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Ailura / Wikimedia Commons

Following the Lionesses Women’s Euro 2022 victory last weekend, the shocking comparison between their wages and that of their male counterparts has started coming to light.

The Lionesses’ bonus for finally bringing football home after fifty-six years of hurt was £55,000 per player, a seemingly handsome sum. 

However, it is just a small fraction of the bonus the men’s team took home after coming in second during the Euro 2020 tournament last year.

The men were each awarded a bonus of £300,000, and could’ve have taken an even higher sum of £460,000 home if they had beaten Italy to the title. 

A BBC study claims Women’s Super League (WSL) players earn £47,000 a year on average, while the average wage of a Premier League player is £60,000 – a week. 

The only aspect of equality in the game is payment to each player for an England appearance, with both the men and women’s team being paid £2,000 for each appearance.

The significant gender pay gap can be put down to the amount of money individual clubs bring in – for example, Manchester City’s mens team reported £571m in turnover for the 2020-21 season.

According to Deloitte, the club spent 62% of that revenue on players’ wages, which works out at £354m.

Manchester City’s Women’s Super League team, however, reported a significantly lower turnover of £2.9m for 2020-21, with its wage bill reported at £3.3m.

Though it isn’t all doom and gloom for women’s football, with wages slowly on the increase.

England Captain Leah Williamson reportedly earns £200,000 a year, while right-back Lucy Bronze is also said to have been in a similar wage bracket when she was at Manchester City before her transfer to Barcelona this summer.

And things are looking up for the Lionesses as they consider brand deals, sponsorships and off-field collaborations with big names such as Pepsi, Gucci and Nike, all of which will increase the club’s revenue. 

Pay could also increase as a result of the tournament’s success, which saw a record attendance for any Euro game at Wembley for the final.

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Bury swimmer James Guy wins SIX medals at the Commonwealth Games

James also brought home gold at last year’s Olympic Games

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@james.g.guy / Instagram

A swimmer from Bury will be bringing home an astonishing six medals from the Commonwealth Games. 

After winning three silvers and two bronze at the Birmingham games, James Guy concluded his week with gold as part of the England team 4 x 100 metres medley relay after beating their Australian rivals.

These medals join his Olympics 2021 success in Team GB’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay team, where he brought home gold. 

Although winning gold is the dream, James says the medal he is most proud of this week is the silver he won for the 100 metres butterfly event.

He told ITV News: “I just haven’t got that race right this year just generally and tactically but this meet I wanted to swim it right and swim it how I usually do it.

“I trusted myself, believed what I was doing and believed in myself.”

He added: “It’s been a really good year this year. I think to get six medals at our home games is fantastic. I never really look at the results, I just try and see what I can do in my individual races and my team races. 

“Six medals is a nice accomplishment… I didn’t realise how many I’d won until I finished racing, but to finally get a gold on the last event and to beat the Australians… Yeah, a really really good week, and a nice start for the English team in Birmingham.”

James, who was awarded an MBE for his services to swimming earlier this year, was born in Bury and grew up in Altrincham, where he took up swimming lessons when he was four.

However, swimming wasn’t his only passion, with his childhood being full of different sports and activities. He said: “When I was younger I was obsessed with Bruce Lee. I used to do kung fu twice a week, gymnastics, football and even lacrosse.

“I was just a normal kid trying everything. Eventually swimming took over and it went from there.”

James swam at the Trafford Metros swimming club and went on to win a swimming scholarship at Millfield public school in Somerset, where he now lives. 

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Campaign group urges Brits to stop paying their energy bills in protest of soaring costs

‘It can only work if we show the powers that be that we would not stand for being treated as cash cows’

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Brits should boycott their energy bills this October in protest of the soaring costs, a campaign group has proposed this week.

As the cost of living crisis continues to take its toll, Don’t Pay UK is on a mission to get one million people to pledge to cancel their bills in a bid to force energy companies to reduce monthly costs.

The group says that if even a fraction of the million that they want on board agree to stop paying their energy bills, they will be able to bring companies to the negotiating table.

This comes after Ofgem announced the energy price cap will be updated every three months rather than every six months, as it warned that customers face a ‘very challenging winter ahead’.

Analysts at Cornwall Insight also predicted that the price cap is on track to rise to an astonishing £3,615 a year from January, adding further pressure on households. 

In response to this, Don’t Pay UK has devised a three-step plan:

Build support.

The group is currently setting up email lists and is on TikTok, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter to spread its message. Zoom calls are also being organised, as are as in-person meet-ups. They are also printing flyers and stickers in a bid to bring people together.

A statement on the group’s website reads: “We’ll need people, organisations and community groups to do all of this too, building this up street by street, estate by estate and city by city.

“The first step is to get thousands of people like you to say you support the strike.”

Gather a million pledges.

Don’t Pay UK has stressed that the only way they can get their message across is by turning out in serious numbers to show energy companies that they have some power.

A statement reads: “One million sounds like a lot, but millions more will already be thinking about whether they’ll be able to pay come winter and afford the other things they need to survive for them and their families.

“Even more of us will be angry about paying more than double what we used to pay for the same amount we use. Let alone food, petrol and mortgages.”

Cancel direct debits if price increases go ahead.

If the government and energy companies have not reduced bills by October 1st, the group say they will take action by cancelling their direct debits. They hope that by everybody doing this on the same day, they will be able to send a strong message to energy companies.

Their website reads: “It can only work if we believe in each other and show the powers that be that we would not stand for being treated as cash cows.”

To read more about the Don’t Pay UK movement, visit the official website here.

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