School boards brace for possible strike by bus drivers

About 15,000 students could be stranded on their way to school if bus company Autobus Transco decides to strike next week.

If drivers at Autobus Transco decide to strike, students will have to get to school another way Jan. 30, 31

More than 330 drivers have given their union a strike mandate. (Sudha Krishnan/CBC)

About 15,000 children attending schools across the island of Montreal could be stranded for two days next week if 330 drivers for the bus company Autobus Transco make good on a threat to strike.

The drivers have a strike mandate and plan to walk off the job on Jan. 30 and 31, if no progress is made when the two sides meet with a mediator Monday.

Union spokesperson Carole Laplante said the drivers would rather not strike, but the salary increase that Transco is offering doesn't keep pace with inflation.

School boards plan ahead

The school boards affected are:

  • English Montreal School Board (EMSB).
  • Lester B. Pearson School Board.
  • Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board.
  • Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM).

The EMSB sent an email to parents saying that students who aren't normally in before or after-school daycare can sign up for it before Monday at 9 a.m., so they can drop off and pick up their children in the event of a school bus drivers strike.

The school board also said children can be kept at home without being penalized for missing any exams on those days.

At Willingdon School, parents have been calling administrators to find out what to do, said vice-principal Steve Spetsieris.

Mother Andrea Gordon said a bus driver's strike would be 'a little bit difficult for us.' (Sudha Krishnan/CBC)

Single mother Andrea Gordon is a secretary at the school, and her son goes to school in LaSalle. She said she has made arrangements to take him to daycare before going to work.

"There are parents out there — single parents out there — who don't have the means to bring their child to school. So this was a little bit difficult for us," Gordon said.