Bus strike affecting west island, south shore postponed

A bus strike that would have affected thousands of students has been averted--for now.

"School bus carriers have until April 23 to understand that their salary offers are unacceptable," said the president of the local Teamsters union Jean Chartrand in a statement. 

If there is no movement at the bargaining table on a salary increase before then, the union warns bus drivers will walk off the job that day.

Originally they had been set to strike on Monday and Tuesday.

The Teamsters Local 106 union represents drivers working for transport companies contracted by several boards.

Autobus Lucien Bissonnette shuttles students from the Lester B. Pearson School Board in the west island, as well as the Trois-Lacs School Board in the off-island suburb of Vaudreuil-Dorion. Autobus Rive-Sud is contracted to bus students from the Marie-Victorin School Board on the south shore, the Patriots Board in the Monteregie, and also drives the adapted transport vans for the Commission scolaire de Montréal. 

In all, about 8,000 students would be affected by a potential strike.

The union balked at the last contract offer of a one per cent salary increase, noting it is almost half the annual increase to the consumer price index.

It also lays some blame at the feet of the Couillard government, saying the province should have increased the education transport budget more than 1.43 per cent, which puts added strain on school boards.