Some Quebec daycare workers to start general strike Wednesday as talks break off
MONTREAL -- Just hours before a general indefinite strike is set to begin at several of Quebec's public daycares, one major union was still sitting at the bargaining table -- but those talks broke off Tuesday afternoon, leaving the strike a sure thing.
The Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux remained in negotiations Tuesday afternoon until it told CTV shortly before 6 p.m. that talks had broken off and more aren't scheduled for the moment.
The union federation had earlier said that talks could continue into the evening or even overnight.
The union, which is affiliated with the CSN, has already announced that its members would walk out on Wednesday morning, failing an agreement in principle with Quebec on the renewal of its collective agreement.
However, the walkout would only concern early childhood centres where FSSS members work.
Though more talks aren't currently scheduled, the union has also said it hopes to continue talking during the strike.
The Fédération des intervenantes en petite enfance, affiliated to the CSQ, has still not announced the date of a possible indefinite strike, although its members have voted in favour of a mandate.
FIPEQ is ruling out an unlimited strike this week, however. It negotiated with Quebec on Sunday and Monday evening and returns to the table on Thursday.
As for the Syndicat québécois des employés de service (SQEES), affiliated to the FTQ, it is set to announce the result of its strike vote on Wednesday morning.
The main issue has now shifted to the salary increases being offered to CPE workers that are not educators, such as kitchen, administrative and maintenance workers.
Quebec has offered a large wage hike to educators because it considers them underpaid, admitting it is worried about a job shortage.
However, the unions point out salary offers to "other" child care workers were lacking.
At a press conference Tuesday, Premier François Legault reiterated that the parties were not far apart on the issue of pay for educators. But the issue of wages for 'other' child-care workers remains.
Quebec has offered larger increases to educators because of the shortage and because it admits that they are underpaid. In addition, there has been a decline in enrolment in the CEGEP child care programs.
Under the Quebec offer, educators would be paid from $21.38 per hour to $28.31 at the 10th level. It proposes to add two more steps to the current 10-step scale, bringing the hourly wage to $30.03 at the 12th level.
The FIPEQ, for example, is asking for $22.85 per hour to $30.29 at the 10th level.
For 'other' workers, the FIPEQ says that CPE support staff lag behind their public sector peers by 20 to 35 per cent, depending on job title.
-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 30, 2021, with files from CTV News.