The school bus drivers' union is still refusing to resort to arbitration to settle its dispute with Autobus Transco, despite a request from Quebec Labour Minister Jean Boulet, and the employer.

The union, which represents 350 school bus drivers, has been on strike since Oct. 31.

As a result of the strike, some 15,000 young people in Montreal's school service centres and school boards do not have school transportation.

Last Friday, in view of the continuing dispute, Boulet met separately with the employer and the union.

He reminded the parties that, if they agreed, he could appoint an arbitrator - a neutral, impartial third party - to settle the dispute and allow a return to work. The employer had already offered that to the union on more than one occasion, to no avail.

In an interview on Wednesday, union president Carole Laplante justified her refusal by saying that she "doesn't want a collective agreement imposed on us."

She says she still believes in conciliation.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Feb. 28, 2024.