Southwestern Ontario school bus drivers ratify new collective agreement

Workers will receive minimum 4 hours’ pay per day: Unifor
||Last Updated: 03/12/2018

School bus drivers at First Student Canada in Southwestern Ontario ratified a new collective agreement on March 9 that increases earning and better reflects the scope of the important work that they perform.

Gains in this collective agreement go a long way towards ensuring that school bus drivers have decent work, said Unifor, the union representing members of the bargaining units from Owen Sound/Wiarton and Port Elgin/Kincardine.

"School bus drivers are caring individuals who make a positive impact in children's lives and educational experience," said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario regional director. "Ensuring a living wage and a fair contract shouldn't be a fight, but far too often, provincial funding shortfalls curtail negotiations before we reach the bargaining table."

The collective agreement ensures all home to school drivers will have a minimum of four hours pay and four insurable hours daily, with a base rate of $70 per day paid out hourly at $17.50. This will better reflect the time taken to drive most routes, according to Unifor.

All members also gain access to a women's advocate, a union member specially trained to assist people facing sexual or gender-based violence, as well as enhanced union representation and an increase in Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) medical payments. Additionally, all the MTO fees associated with a driver renewing their B license will be paid by the company, said the union.

88 per cent of members in Owen Sound/Wiarton voted to approve their agreement while 82 per cent of members in Port Elgin/Kincardine also voted in favour, said Unifor.

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