Quebec City, Lévis-area bus drivers to strike, affecting thousands of students
A lot of parents in the Quebec City and Lévis regions might have to change their work schedules as school bus drivers are headed for a strike Monday.
Eighty-five drivers with Autobus Tremblay & Paradis and its subsidiary Autobus B.R., both affiliated with the CSN, are set to walk off the job.
The La Capitale, Des Découvreurs and Des Navigateurs school service centres as well as the Central Quebec School Board will be affected by the walkout, which will last at least a week.
That means about 6,000 students could be left without a ride to school.
Hélene Thibault, union president, says salaries are at the heart of negotiations.
The employer offered a 10 per cent salaries increase and some social benefits, she said. But the union estimates that in the last few years, contracts between school service centres went up by 15 to 30 per cent.
"We're allowed our piece of the pie."
Thibault added that most drivers take home less than $400 per week.
"They want to bring back people because they lack drivers. It's not by giving salaries of 300 and some dollars a week that they will attract people," she said.
Thibault is sorry to see the situation affect the parents, but in the current economic context, she says the bus drivers are forced to take this step.
Looking for solutions
Hundreds of parents are working to find solutions to get their children to school safely.
Catherine Simard, the mother of a sixth grader who takes school transport in the morning and evening, will have to find other options.
"It's going to take a little family reorganization," she said.
She and her neighbours have agreed to take turns bringing their kids to school and picking them up.
"We have a small group for the neighbourhood," she said. "We talk to each other, among parents and we're trying to organize ourselves."