School bus drivers in Durham region and parts of Toronto could strike next week, leaving about 10,000 students stranded if a deal isn't reached between their union and busing company First Student Canada.
On Friday, Unifor Local 4268 served the company with a strike notice that would go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 30 if a contract dispute isn't resolved. The notice means drivers within the company's Ajax division are in a legal strike position.
"We hope to reach a fair deal with First Student as we know the service our drivers provide is vital to students and their families," Unifor Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi said in a news release on Friday.
"However, it's simply unfair to expect school bus drivers to continue to accept subpar wages and do unpaid work."
Dozens of schools in the Durham public and Catholic boards would be affected, while nine school's under the Toronto District School Board's purview and 19 within the Toronto Catholic District Board system would be impacted.
According to TDSB's website, a strike would affect nine schools under its umbrella:
- Cedarbrook Junior Public School.
- Centennial Road Junior Public School.
- Cornell Junior Public School.
- Corvette Junior Public School.
- General Crerar Public School.
- George B. Little Junior Public School.
- Poplar Road Junior Public School.
- West Hill Collegiate Institute.
- William G. Miller Junior Public School.
"In the event of a strike, there will be NO school bus services on routes being serviced by this division for the duration of the job action," the TDSB's website reads.
" If there is a strike, the operator will not be able to replace the bus drivers and the TDSB will not be able to contract another bus company to service the routes. As a result, parents should make alternate arrangements in the event of a strike that may impact pickup, drop-off or both."
The union says it will continue to negotiate with the company until the strike deadline with the hope of reaching what it considers a fair contract.