TORONTO, Dec. 7, 2017 /CNW/ - School bus drivers at First Student Ajax and First Student Brooklin, represented by Unifor Local 4268, have voted to accept a new four-year collective agreement with the company.
"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 Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi. "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 2 per cent respectively in years three and four.
"Unifor has led the fight for fair wages and job security for school bus drivers, who are a growing sector in our union," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "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."
The drivers at First Student Ajax and First Student Brooklin serve approximately 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.
"Within one year of taking the first steps to unionize these drivers were able to negotiate a contract with a substantial pay raise that also removes the expectation to work free driving hours," said Debbie Montgomery, President of Unifor Local 4268. "This collective agreement will be used as a benchmark as we continue to work to improve conditions across the industry."
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O'Keefe at [email protected] or 416-896-3303 (cell).