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Quebec daycare workers begin rotating strike as talks set to resume this week

MONTREAL — Ten thousand Quebec unionized home daycare workers began the first of a series of rotating strikes Tuesday, after negotiations with the province failed to produce a deal.

The group representing workers, Federation des intervenantes en petite enfance, said rotating strikes began in the Quebec City area and will end Sept. 18, in the Laurentians and Monteregie regions, north and south of Montreal.

Daycare workers in Montreal are expected to strike Sept. 11. The union says it plans to launch a general strike on Sept. 21 if no deal is reached before then. It estimates some 60,000 families will be affected by the pressure tactics.

Representatives for the workers and for the Quebec government met Monday afternoon and said talks would continue on an unspecified date later this week.

The union represents people who run daycare workers out of their home. They are seeking better wages, among other demands.

The daycare educators are not paid by the hour. Rather, they receive a subsidy from the government to provide the service at home. Their union estimates that based on hours worked and expenses, workers bring home the equivalent of $12.42 per hour. Workers are demanding the equivalent of $16.75 per hour.

“Our members are exhausted and breathless at the lack of recognition,” union president Valerie Grenon said in a recent statement. “They’re leaving the profession by the hundreds.”

Quebec Families Minister, Mathieu Lacombe, has said he hoped to come to an agreement to avoid a strike. On Monday, his office reiterated that desire in a statement, adding that the department was “satisfied” that talks were resuming.

“However, it is a pity that it’s the families who see their daily lives upended in paying for the pressure tactics that begin today,” the statement read.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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