Zann: Liberals need to ensure plan is in place in case of school bus strike

January 23, 2014

(Truro, NS) Truro-Bible Hill-Milbrook-Salmon River MLA Lenore Zann is asking the Liberal government to ensure a plan is in place in case Chignecto school board bus drivers and other tradespeople go on strike next week.

Zann says with high school exams just days away it’s important parents and students are aware of what steps will be taken if a strike occurs. While the school board has indicated it is up to parents to ensure their children’s transportation to and from school, Zann believes the Education Minister still needs to clarify some issues.

“Will there be extended drop-off and pick-up hours for elementary and junior high students? Will there be make-up dates for high school students writing exams? What contingency plans will be in place for students who take the bus to school every day? These are all questions that need to be answered this week.”

Zann says while it’s important plans are in place to manage a potential strike, she is hopeful Minister Casey will respect the collective bargaining process and not resort to a heavier-handed response like the one she employed in 2008 under similar circumstances.

In 2008, Karen Casey was the Education Minister for Rodney MacDonald’s Conservative government when unionized school bus drivers in HRM voted in favour of strike action during contract negotiations with Stock Transportation. At the time Casey threatened to bring in bus drivers from other provinces if workers walked off the job. She also expressed a willingness to introduce back to work legislation when a settlement was still possible.

“Obviously whenever there is a potential strike that could impact the education system it’s a stressful time for all parties involved, including the Education Minister,” said Zann. “I am hopeful the Education Minister will take a balanced and reasonable to approach to the situation, which is respectful of all sides.”