School bus drivers at First Student Ajax and First Student Brooklin — represented by Unifor, Local 4268 — voted to accept a new four-year collective agreement with the company on Dec. 7.
"This agreement contains significant gains including wage increases and the elimination of unpaid driving time, a core issue for our drivers and a common practice in the industry," said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario regional director. "The bargaining committee goal was to raise standard to make these jobs more viable so we're pleased that we were able to present a deal that better reflects the value of the driver's work."
The negotiated benefits of the new contract include guaranteed pay for all driving time with a minimum of four paid hours a day in addition to paid meeting and training time. Drivers will earn a minimum of $16 per hour in the first year of the contract and $17 per hour in the second year, followed by increases of 1.75 per cent and two per cent respectively in years three and four, said the union.
"This is a first contract for these members so achieving tangible gains, especially ending the policy of unpaid driving hours, proves that school bus drivers do not need to accept low-paying, precarious work," said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president.
The drivers at First Student Ajax and First Student Brooklin serve about 10,000 students at the Durham District School Board, the Durham Catholic District School Board, the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud. The schools are located in the Ajax, Brock, Oshawa, Pickering, Scarborough, Scugog, Uxbridge and Whitby areas, all in Ontario.
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