Bus drivers back to work in Winnipeg School Division following strike
WINNIPEG -- There is some good news for parents and students in the Winnipeg School Division who rely on the bus to get to school.
Bus drivers are back to work as the bus driver strike has come to an end.
UFCW 832, the union that represents over 90 drivers for the Winnipeg School Division, said it applied to the Manitoba Labour Board (MLB) on Nov. 9 to end the strike using a settlement process.
The union was told last week by the MLB that the application was approved and the settlement process would go forward.
"The School Division was absolutely not prepared to come back to the bargaining table to work on a resolve to this strike," said Bea Bruske, who is the secretary-treasurer of the union, in a news release. She said without the settlement process the strike would have gone on longer.
A deal has not happened yet but it is expected to be worked out over the next two to three months.
Bus drivers went back to work earlier this week.
Drivers had been on strike since the beginning of September because of failed negotiations with the school division.
The union said the main issue in the negotiations was Bill-28, which called for a two-year wage freeze for public sector workers, followed by a 0.75 per cent increase in the third year and a one per cent increase in the fourth year.
The provincial government passed the bill in 2017 but it was never proclaimed into law and a Manitoba judge ruled against the bill in June 2020, a decision that the government is appealing.
The school division had originally told CTV News back in September that it was willing to negotiate but not on wages saying it had to be fiscally responsible, especially right now with "extra expenses."
A spokesperson for the school division said on Thursday that drivers are currently training on bus routes and implementing safety protocols.
"Students spacing is important and only one child per seat is allowed unless they are sitting with a sibling or a member of their classroom cohort. That means that about 85 per cent of eligible students will begin to be transported starting tomorrow, Friday, December 4," the spokesperson said in an email to CTV News.
- With files from CTV's Mike Arsenault.