JOLIETTE, QUE -- Almost a week after announcing an indefinite general strike, family childcare providers want to come to an agreement with the government over the weekend.

The 10,000 CSQ union home childcare providers and the Ministry of Familes met with a mediator on Saturday.

The Ministry of Families requested the mediation after an intensive negotiation session last weekend, which did not result in the parties agreeing to avoid the general and indefinite strike.

If it hopes to come to an agreement quickly with the government, the Federation of Early Childhood Intervenors (FIPEQ-CSQ), said on Saturday that it was essential that the monetary aspect be settled before reaching an agreement.

According to the union, the latest government offer is equivalent to $12.83 per hour, once the general grant money from the ministry is calculated.

The FIPEQ wants $16.75.

Those in charge of home child care services also demonstrated in Joliette on Saturday to put pressure on the government.

"The Minister of Families (Mathieu Lacombe) could have avoided the strike, and he chose to do nothing!" said CSQ president Sonia Éthier during the rally.

Parti Quebecois MNA for Joliette Veronique Hivon was present at the event to show her support for the cause.

"It's fine, we can have all bills 61 or 66 to build infrastructure in Quebec with workers and pipelines, but if there is no one valued to take care of children, we won't go far," she told the crowd.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2020.