Quebec's home childcare workers to go on unlimited strike

The roughly 10,000 members of the federation of early childhood workers are calling for a wage hike and say they will walk out April 1.

Raising wages is the main sticking point for federation of early childhood workers

If the strike is carried out, 60,000 families could be affected.  (Charles Contant/CBC)

Some 10,000 home childcare workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of going on a general unlimited strike as of April 1. 

Members of the federation of early childhood workers in Quebec (FIPEQ), which is affiliated with the CSQ labour federation, met in Quebec City to discuss strategies for a new collective agreement on Sunday. At the meeting, 97.5 per cent of the members voted in favour of a general walkout. 

This is the union's latest pressure tactic, as they continue to negotiate a collective agreement with the provincial government.

Family Minister Mathieu Lacombe had brought forward an offer to raise hourly wages by six cents to $12.48 an hour., an offer the federation considered to be an insult.

Instead, members are calling for a 30 per cent raise in salaries, which would see them make $16.75 an hour. 

"The proposal that we brought our members is to vote on an unlimited strike [...] otherwise, we risk putting this network in peril," FIPEQ president Valérie Grenon said. 

If the strike is carried out, 60,000 families could be affected. 

Grenon apologized for any impact the strike might have on parents. 

"If the parents feels stuck, I repeat and I cannot repeat this enough, it is up to the Minister [of Families] to end the impasse," she said. 

Lacombe's office called the strike an "additional headache" for families and sent out an apology. 

"However, we will not be negotiating in the public sphere," the minister's office said in a statement. 

The federation chose to hold the vote March 8, on International Women's Day, because women make up 99 per cent of the federation's members.

With files from Radio-Canada and La Presse Canadienne


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