Workers in the province’s public daycares will be walking off the job for a day next Friday.
Earlier this week, 97 percent of the 11,000 staff in Quebec’s Centres de la petite enfance — commonly referred to as CPEs — voted in favour of a 10-day strike mandate.
The vote sent an “extremely strong message to the government,” according to a statement from the union federation that represents the workers.
The federation also says the nine other days in the strike mandate will be used “at an opportune time.”
The CPE workers have been without a government contract for 18 months. Salary increases are among the main sticking points in negotiations.
Workers are also asking for more resources in order to provide better services to children with special needs.
“Your offers in July were insufficient, and if you want to reach an agreement, you’ll need to come back to the table with a serious proposition,” said Stéphanie Vachon, who speaks on behalf of CPE workers affiliated with the CSN.
“The result [of the vote for the strike mandate] also shows the CPE workers’ state of mind. Determined more than ever, our members are ready to battle…with the government to improve their conditions.”
What needs to be fixed in Quebec’s daycare system
Quebec Family minister Mathieu Lacombe says the daycare system needs to be “put back on track” and he wants to “complete the system” which was first introduced in 1997 by Parti Québécois Family Minister Pauline Marois. He promises to table a new bill in the fall.
According to the Family Ministry, there are 51,000 children on waiting lists, mostly for subsidized spots. Several parents, mothers especially, have reported being unable to return to work because they can’t find child care after their parental leaves.
Those who are invested in the system agree it should offer quality care to children, and that everyone who wants a spot should be able to get one.
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