3,000 daycare workers to go on strike this week in Quebec

Parents of young children will have to be creative with their childcare this week as a rotating strike is beginning Tuesday in many of Quebec's public daycares (CPEs).

Educators say they want to put pressure on the government in the negotiation of their new collective agreement.

Tuesday and Wednesday, educators with the Fédération des intervenantes en petite en enfance du Québec (FIPEQ), affiliated with the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), plan to be on strike.

The strike starts at daycares in Montreal, Laval, Lanaudière, Montérégie and the Eastern Townships Tuesday before moving to Quebec City, Chaudière-Appalaches and Abitibi-Témiscamingue on Wednesday.

FIPEQ-CSQ president Valérie Grenon explains three major topics are currently blocking negotiations.

These include educators wanting an increase in salary, as well as more resources to support both existing staff and children with special needs.

Grenon states that, despite several days of negotiations over the past few weeks, nothing has changed.

"We are still on the July offers. For us, this is unacceptable. We didn't accept it in July, we won't accept it today," she said.

The union says it hopes it has the support of parents and Quebecers in general "to obtain real recognition of the work done by early childhood educators."

The timing of this first day of rotating strikes, being held in two stages, is intended to put pressure on the government ahead of the next meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday.

The union says it is also fighting mandatory overtime, stating the government is seeking to impose the same system on educators that nurses have been denouncing for years in the health care system.

"This is their solution to solve the labour shortage, they tell us," says Grenon.

In addition to refusing to work, educators are also planning to demonstrate Tuesday morning in Montreal and Sherbrooke, and in Levis and Rouyn-Noranda on Wednesday.

They say they also want to show solidarity with their negotiating committee.

"There are only four of them at the table with the Family Ministry and the Treasury Board, but we want to show them that there are 3,000 of us in the street to make things happen and that we deserve better," said Grenon.

There are plans for workers affiliated with other unions to also walk out in the next few days.

Union members with the CSN-affiliated Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux have announced they will strike on Oct. 14 and 15.

In addition, child care workers with the FTQ-affiliated Syndicat québécois des employées et employés de service plan to hold their own strike days on Oct. 18 and 19.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 12, 2021. 

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