Quebec family daycare workers' general strike set to begin Monday after negotiations fail
MONTREAL -- A Quebec child-care workers' federation says all 10,000 of the province's family daycare workers will go on an indefinite general strike as of Monday.
The announcement came at about 7:45 on Sunday evening after what had seemed to be a hopeful note earlier in the day.
The union, FIPEQ-CSQ, had announced the cancellation of its news conference scheduled for Sunday morning "due to progress made at the negotiating table."
However, by evening, the union described the government's offer in a press release as "insulting, contemptuous and out of touch."
The announcement came just after the Minister of Families, Mathieu Lacombe, announced on Twitter that he had asked the Minister of Labour to appoint, not an arbitrator, but a mediator.
"A strike in the midst of a pandemic will have significant impacts for toddlers and their parents," he said.
The minister later said in a press release that it was a "common practice in any negotiation to resort to mediation in the event of an impasse," and that "all efforts must be made at the negotiating table to come to an agreement."
The union says the government is offering the workers a subsidy of $12.83 per hour, while the union is demanding that it be a minimum of $16.75 per hour.
"The gap between the parties is still too great and the general indefinite strike tomorrow is inevitable," said union president Valérie Grenon in the release.
The FIPEQ represents 10,000 family childcare providers (RSE). They ended their province-wide rotating strike, which began on Sept. 1, on Friday, and began to prepare for an indefinite general strike, starting this week, failing an agreement with the government.
About 40 negotiation meetings have taken place between the Ministry of families and the union since March 2019.
However, discussions have slowed since the end of June. They resumed more intensively this weekend.
Remuneration is the main point in dispute.
Home childcare providers are not paid by the hour. Instead, they receive a grant from the Ministry of Families to provide the service at their home. This subsidy is provided for in a service agreement, which is currently under negotiation.
Their second source of income is the parental contribution, or $8.35 per child per day, from which they receive $7.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2020.