The Fédération des intervenantes en petite enfance (FIPEQ), affiliated to the CSQ, announced on Wednesday evening the suspension of the unlimited general strike planned for Thursday in several daycares.

It will also present a tentative agreement to its members.

Earlier, agreements in principle had finally been reached between Quebec, on the one hand, and the Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux and the Syndicat québécois des employés de service, on the other.

The FIPEQ has indicated that an "agreement in principle" on monetary and salary matters will be submitted to its members in the next few days.

For her part, Treasury Board President Sonia Lebel posted a message on Twitter Wednesday evening in which she wrote, "We are convinced that these agreements will allow us to continue the development of the CPE network that is so important for our children and parents."

The other agreement reached late Wednesday afternoon with the Syndicat québécois des employés de service (SQEES), affiliated with the FTQ, also allowed for the postponement of the unlimited strike that it was expected to call Thursday morning.

However, the unlimited strike at the CSN-affiliated Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS), which has been going on for a week, will continue until the members vote on the agreement in principle, the union federation said.

Another agreement in principle was also reached with the Steelworkers union, affiliated to the FTQ, which had only two daycares, or Centres de la petite enfance (CPEs) affected.

These two CPE unions had been on unlimited strike since Oct. 13. Once again, the members will be asked to vote on this agreement.

It is important to note that although the FSSS refers to this as a "tentative agreement," and it is not recommending that its members vote in favour of it. It will let them decide.

Usually, when a labour organization talks about a tentative agreement, it recommends it to its members. When they don't recommend it, it's because they're not fully satisfied with it, but they think they got as much as they could under the circumstances.

"We've worked extremely hard to get to this point. We feel that we did everything we could to advance the priorities of the workers at the bargaining table, but at the end of the day, the decision is theirs. That's why we will give them the chance to decide as soon as possible," said Stéphanie Vachon, representative of the CPE at the FSSS.

Neither organization wanted to give details of the agreement, preferring to keep the details for their members, as is usually the case in such circumstances.

Salaries were in dispute, particularly those of support staff in the CPEs: maintenance workers, administrators and kitchen staff.

As for the educators, Quebec offered $30.03 at the 12th step. It added two steps to the current 10-step scale.

Prior to the announcement of the tentative agreement with FIPEQ on Wednesday evening, LeBel was pleased with the tentative agreements announced in the afternoon.

"I am very satisfied that our government has granted historic increases to educators. This is proof that we care about our network," she said.

Her colleague, Mathieu Lacombe, said he was "very, very, very, very happy" with the agreements in principle. "These women do a demanding job. These women were not paid enough," he said. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 8, 2021.