Bus drivers for First Student Bowmanville will return to work on Monday following a three day strike.
According to Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario (STSCO), a tentative agreement has been reached in contract talks between First Student and Unifor Local 4269.
“We’ve stepped up to offer a highly competitive compensation package which includes a 20% increase in average compensation, a $400 signing bonus, and enhanced medical benefits. Based on this offer, our drivers would become the highest paid operators in the region,” said First Student Bowmanville representative, Jerry Dias.
First Student Bowmanville serves 5,000 students in Northumberland County and the Clarington area. Bus drivers walked off the job at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning, impacting 33 Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board schools and 10 Peterborough Victoria Clarington Northumberland DSB schools
Busing for all students will resume as usual on Monday, March 26.
“STSCO is pleased that both sides have been able to reach a tentative agreement,” STSCO said on its website. “Bus drivers do an excellent job transporting our students safely to and from school each day and we are happy that they will be able to return to work on Monday.”
“The drivers took a firm stand and as a result were able to reach a deal with First Student that better reflects their true value,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “While this negotiation highlighted the issue of unpaid work the practice remains common in the student transportation sector. Unifor will continue to lead the fight to fix unfair pay structures and other systemic problems in Ontario’s school bus industry.”
Bus Drivers told Global News they were also pleased with the outcome.
“We finally getting paid for what we do and getting the kids home and getting them to School safely, ” said bus driver Michael Hickey.
“The company and the union have come together and at the end of the day that’s what they’re looking for,” said bus driver, Ron Wrigglesworth.