School bus drivers with Campeau Bus Lines — which provides transportation throughout central Ontario — say they’re ready to strike if a new collective agreement is not reached by next Tuesday.
According to Unifor, the more than 200 school bus drivers with Campeau have voted 95.8 per cent in favour of strike action if a new deal is not reached by 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 19.
The drivers serve up to 77 schools and 4,500 students Peterborough, Peterborough County, Cobourg, Port Hope, the Kawarthas and Durham (Orono, Whitby, Ajax, Oshawa, Clarington and Bowmanville).
The key issue for the drivers is remuneration for all working time.
“Campeau needs to recognize and compensate for all working time,” stated Debbie Montgomery, Unifor Local 4268 President.
“A resolution is simple. The company needs to pay workers at a rate consistent with the responsibilities they shoulder. Every parent deserves the comfort of knowing that their children are in the hands of well-trained and appropriately compensated professionals.”
Unior Local 4268 is negotiating its first collective agreement and both parties have agreed to resume negotiations on Thursday.
“This industry is marred by a system where the various student transportation consortiums around the province have the ability to dictate funding models to the private carriers who are contracted to provide the school buses,” stated Len Poirier, director of road transportation. “There is no consistency amongst them and the province needs to step up and correct this flawed system of funding and ensure all funds go to their intended purpose.”
The Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario utilizes Campeau Bus Lines and is advising parents to prepare for a possible strike by making alternative travel plans.
“We remain hopeful an agreement can be reached before Tuesday,” STSCO stated.
Unifor — Canada’s largest union in the private sector — represents 315,000 workers including more than 2,900 school bus drivers.