Daycare workers call for improvements to special needs education
Members of Quebec’s daycare union demonstrated in four cities on Saturday as a pressure tactic in negotiations with the government on a new collective agreement.
The Quebec Federation of Early Childhood Workers, which is part of the CSQ, is calling for a substantial improvement to services for children with special needs, the introduction of a progressive return to work following a disability, wage increases closer to the provincial average and a more equitable contribution by the government to the union’s insurance plan, among other things.
"We've been cut, we've lost vacation and sick days," said union member Alison Westcott. "They're trying to change our pension so that we get it at 67-years-old. People who don't do our job, it's a very physical job, it takes a lot of patience."
Members held rallies in Montreal, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Rouyn-Noranda. Some parents joined the workers, saying investing in children must be a priority.
"As a parent, I value them and I tell them 'thank you' every day," said Farrah Rozefort. "They're learning so much and they're improving but the government needs to recognize that, because it's the future."
The union represents 11,700 childcare providers and 2,400 educators.
According to union president Valerie Grenon, the government is still looking to recuperate “as much money as possible,” even after $600 million in cuts over the past few years.
Grenon said that while some headway has been made in negotiations, there are still several areas that are in dispute.