April 30, 2019 10:58 pm
Updated: April 30, 2019 10:59 pm

Tentative agreement reached between Toronto-area Unifor school bus drivers, Stock Transportation

WATCH ABOVE: Some Toronto school bus drivers could be in a position to strike come Thursday. The major sticking point is around compensation. Erica Vella has reaction from the union and its drivers.

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A tentative agreement has been reached between Unifor school bus drivers and Stock Transportation, potentially averting a strike that would have impacted more than 8,300 Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) students.

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“We’re pleased that we were able to negotiate a new collective agreement with Stock Transportation as part of Unifor’s ongoing work to ensure that school bus drivers are given both the respect and compensation that they deserve for the challenging work that they undertake each school day,” said Unifor Local 4268 President Debbie Montgomery in a statement Tuesday night.

The three-year agreement with Stock Transportation covers the approximately 575 school bus drivers who work under two collective agreements in the Toronto north and east divisions.

Officials from the TDSB said they were notified by Stock Transportation that unionized drivers in the two divisions would have been in a legal strike position as of Thursday.

READ MORE: More than 8,300 TDSB, TCDSB students could be impacted by possible school bus drivers strike

If a strike were to happen, the TDSB said approximately 4,235 of its students and 4,105 TCDSB students would have be impacted. Most of the schools serviced by the two divisions are east of Yonge Street.

“The drivers are appreciative of the tremendous support received from parents and the general public, who appreciate that our members need to earn a fair living and that operating a school bus is not a volunteer position or a hobby job,” said Len Poirier, Unifor’s director of road transportation, in a statement.

During negotiations, major sticking points involved compensation.

READ MORE: School bus drivers in communities east of Toronto walk off job

“Our sticking points are the economics, what the drivers will earn, them being paid for all their time and we making progress. We’re not where we need to be yet, but we’re making progress so that’s good,” Montgomery said earlier on Tuesday.

Details around the tentative agreement haven’t been released, but will be available upon ratification which is expected to take place in the near future.

— With files from Nick Westoll

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