MONTREAL -- The Fédération des intervenantes en petite enfance du Québec (FIPEQ-CSQ) has rejected the Quebec government's latest offer, but has lowered its wage demands.

The FIPEQ-CSQ tabled a counter-proposal on Sunday. If an agreement is not reached by next Thursday, the child-care centre (CPE) workers promise to hold further strike days.

For Valérie Grenon, president of the FIPEQ-CSQ, the offer presented on Friday by Sonia LeBel, chair of the Conseil du trésor, has several shortcomings even if "the gap is not so great" between the two parties.

At a press conference in a Quebec City daycare centre, Grenon explained that the union was lowering its wage demand "in order to reach an agreement quickly."

Currently, a qualified educator is paid $19 an hour at the first salary level and up to $25 an hour at the 10th and final level.

The federation is increasing its wage demands from 21 to 27 to 13.6 to 20.3 per cent over three years, depending on the job category.

"This is a major step forward and shows the goodwill of the workers," said Valérie Grenon.

The ball is now in the government's court.

Quebec's latest proposal includes a wage increase of up to 20.22 per cent over three years for qualified educators, but 15 per cent for unqualified educators and 9.3 per cent for CPE support staff.

According to the FIPEQ, Quebec is not offering the same increases to the "other" CPE workers who support the educators, such as kitchen and housekeeping employees.

"The CPEs are a big family, our salary scales have been thought out with principles of salary equity, we will not let any job group down," said Grenon.

The FIPEQ is also demanding a job floor for these workers.

"If there is no significant progress between now and Thursday, there will be other days of strike action."

--This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Oct. 24, 2021.