A BUS driver who was given the green light to go back to work after surviving cancer has been told there is no job for him.
Andrew Lace, aged 48, was diagnosed with lung cancer last autumn and had to undergo months of treatment before doctors gave him the go-ahead to return in June.
Though his bus driving licence is suspended for two years because of the illness, he had been led to believe other work was available.
‘I was promised they were going to find me something else but when it came to the crunch they said they couldn’t find anything for me to do,’ he said.
‘It’s hard to believe it. I’m gutted after working there for 11 years and after what I’ve been through. It’s not as if I was skiving.’
Mr Lace, of Creggan’s Avenue, Peel, said his public service vehicle licence was suspended in March and brought this to the attention of bosses at Bus Vannin.
He had hoped at least to get redeployment as a cleaner but said they were cutting back on cleaning staff.
‘I’ve lodged an appeal,’ he said. ‘I don’t know where to go or what to do now. I’ve been given 11 weeks’ notice (one for each year’s employment) then I’m unemployed. I have a letter saying my employment has been terminated on grounds of capability.
‘I’ve been signed fit to work by the doctor for three weeks now and I said I was willing to do anything.
‘My last scan was spot on and so I want to get back to normality then they pull the rug from under you.’
Steve Salter of the UNITE union said because there was no Disability Discrimination Act in force in the Isle of Man, Manx workers did not have the same protection as their UK counterparts.
‘If this were in the UK it is highly likely it would not have happened because it would force an employer to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate him. He’s been through the mill but he’s not sick. He’s overcome it but he’s had to submit his licence for a time but if he still has the all clear he can have it back.’
Mr Salter said he and Mr Lace had suggested various options but none had been taken up.
‘This is all down to the lack of legislation in the Isle of Man to protect vulnerable individuals. There is no obligation to accommodate him, unlike the UK.
A spokesman for Bus Vannin said: ‘Sadly, we currently have at least three staff members in public transport who are suffering from serious conditions that affect their ability to do their job. Most jobs in bus and rail operations require high standards of medical fitness, either to hold a licence or to work in a safety-critical role.
‘Staff who are unable to work as a result of serious illness are supported through the payment of sick pay and through our occupational health service. Whilst we have every sympathy with an individual who can no longer work in a particular role due to an illness or disability, we have only a limited number of roles that do not need these high standards of medical fitness.
‘We do try to find suitable alternative employment if that can be made to work. Unfortunately that is not always possible, especially as we are trying to reduce our overall staffing costs to meet the financial pressures that we face. We try to find redeployment in other departments but this is increasingly difficult as all departments are facing similar pressures.’
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Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west