MARIGOT–The collective of school bus drivers say they are standing firm and will not provide school transportation until the total amounts of invoices are actually received in the accounts of all the recipient companies.
The collective says it has not been paid for the services since the beginning of the school year in September 2019, but had continued to work and transport students without payment of bills until now.
The Collectivité had indicated it had found a solution and made some partial payments in the hope transportation could be resumed on Monday, March 2. A material error in the execution of the public contract preventing the treasurer from paying for these services was detected and immediately corrected, it said. A solution was found with the head of the Public Finance Centre, enabling payment orders to be issued quickly.
A part of the mandates was issued on Friday, February 28, mandates for which payment will be made to a bank account within 48 hours, while for the other services, the mandate will be issued on Monday, March 2, for payment to a bank account within 48 hours.
“This solution enables the Collectivité and the treasurer to pay for all the services due for services rendered under the school transport contract. Each transporter was informed individually of the solution found. Once the blockages had been lifted, the contracted carriers were asked to resume the pick-up service from Monday morning to avoid penalising pupils.
“The Collectivité has launched a complete reorganisation of public services and is aware of the difficulties encountered by the transporters in recent months, and wishes to apologise for this inconvenience.”
However, the collective argued there have been too many unfulfilled promises to pay and this has led to lack of confidence in the Collectivité.
“We have been informed that school transport will resume this Monday, after a solution was quickly found on Friday afternoon to remove all blockages. We remain surprised by this, as we will never agree to resume services without the actual payment for our services,” the collective said in its release. “This rapid finding of a solution also surprises us even though we had informed the Collectivité of our difficulties several months ago! Why such a delay?
“We think it is a pity that only our refusal to provide school transport could push the decision-makers to find a quick solution to trigger the payment for our services. Our companies are at the end of their tether and a partial payment will not allow us to pay the salary arrears as well as the operating expenses.
“We have heard the Collectivité’s excuses for the ‘inconvenience’ caused, but these excuses do not pay our employees who themselves have families to look after. Thus, without the total payment of the sums due to all the companies, no transport will be carried out.
“We have been contacted by many companies, holders of contracts with the Collectivité who are in the same situation. … We are thinking of organising ourselves so that from now on the follow-up of our payments is carried out with the same rigour as that which is imposed on us for the provision of our services. Today, only transport with a private agreement has been carried out.”