Island school bus drivers set to strike

SUDBURY—Thousands of students in the Sudbury/Manitoulin region could be impacted in the coming weeks by possible bus drivers strikes, as employees of the Sudbury Student Services Consortium (SSSC) will be in a legal strike position as early as May 23.

SSSC employees are represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) and received a “no board” report from the Ministry of Labour on May 6. The employees have voted in favour of strike action if a new collective agreement isn’t reached.

The consortium employees have been working without a contract since December 31, 2015, and efforts to come to a new agreement have so far been unsuccessful.

“Our members want a fair and reasonable agreement, but the consortium has so far refused to provide even a modest improvement in wages. Meanwhile, inflation marches on and our members do not accept that they should have to fall behind while the cost of living continues to rise,” said bargaining unit president Lucie Bisson.

“This is a small bargaining unit, but all 60,000 members of OSSTF/FEESO stand behind their brothers and sisters here in the Sudbury/Manitoulin region,” said Rob Gascho, a member of OSSTF/FEESO’s provincial executive and chair of the bargaining team. “Students across the region depend on our members every day for safe and reliable transportation to school and those members deserve to be treated fairly and respectfully by their employer.”

The Sudbury Student Services Consortium plans bus routes and coordinates transportation for students in the English and French, Public and Catholic school boards in the Greater Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin region.