The first phase of the strike announced by unionized workers at provincial parks began Wednesday morning in Quebec.

About 300 employees walked off the job at Morency Manor and Montmorency Falls Park, at the head office of SEPAQ in Quebec City, Voltigeurs Campground in Drummondville, and the tourist centres at Lac-Kenogami and Lac-Simon.

The second phase of the strike starts Saturday, at the start of Quebec's annual construction holiday, when 1,500 employees at 23 parks across the province join in.

SEPAQ management said it believed that a second salary offer tabled Monday night was a serious step forward in negotiations.

Tuesday night the organization asked the Ministry of Labour to appoint a mediator to the case.

SEPAQ said it would do everything in its power to maintain the accessibility of the parks targeted by the strike, which will remain open despite the labour dispute.

Most of the workers on strike are seasonal employees such as fishing guides, hunting guides, greeters, park wardens, and land attendants.

According to the union many earn $13 or $14 an hour and they are seeking higher wages.