school bus 560MARCH 1 UPDATE: A tentative deal was reached prior to the February 28 deadline. See School bus strike averted

Hub Staff

Twenty-six schools in Bruce and Grey counties could be without bus drivers if an agreement between First Student Canada and Unifor is not met by March 1. Saugeen Shores schools that could be impacted include: G.C. Huston Public, Northport Elementary, St Joseph’s, École Port Elgin Saugeen Central, and Saugeen District Secondary; as well as shuttle service to and from Bruce Power.

“Negotiations are continuing and it is our hope that a fair settlement can still be reached as we are fully aware of the key service that drivers provide to school communities,” said Unifor Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi in a Unifor media release. “It’s clear however that low wages and the resulting driver shortages are chronic problems that must be addressed in the Ontario system.”

Strike notice was given February 23 and applies to First Student Owen Sound/Wiarton and Port Elgin/Kincardine.

Unifor has been in a legal strike position since December 10, 2017 with negotiations ongoing since November.

Debbie Montgomery, President of Unifor Local 4268 said that school bus drivers deserve to be paid in accordance with the job, adding “These workers have been kept at the bottom of the professional driver pay scale with lesser working conditions for too long and that has to be fixed if we want to maintain quality drivers.”

Unifor will continue to negotiate with First Student until the strike deadline of March 1 with the goal of obtaining a fair contract.


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