CUPE workers picket the school board offices Monday.

A strike by close to 500 school bus drivers, custodians and other tradespeople with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board is over. (CBC)

The Chignecto-Central Regional School Board and the union representing nearly 500 school bus drivers, custodians and other tradespeople have agreed to move to mediation, effectively ending a strike that began early Monday morning.

The school board released a statement on Tuesday afternoon and said members of CUPE Local 3890 had been called back to work for evening shifts and to retrieve buses. The union agreed to go back to work while mediation is underway. 

Buses will return to normal routes and services will resume Wednesday morning. About 17,000 students were left scrambling for alternative ways to school when the buses stopped.

Kelly Regan, the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, named Bruce Outhouse as the mediator to help resolve the contract negotiations.

"A mediator will provide support to the parties and bring fresh perspective to the negotiations," said Regan.

"Mr. Outhouse has extensive experience dealing with these types of disputes at both the regional and national levels, and I'm pleased he's able to help the parties."

Negotiations stalled over the school board's decision to contract out some work.

The school district covers a large area including Truro, Stellarton and New Glasgow.