Employees at private Quebec seniors' residences strike over wages
After 16 years, Conchita Poonin earns $13.67 working as nurse's aid in long-term care home
Employees at some private seniors' residences in Quebec have launched a 48-hour strike in a bid to secure better work conditions and higher wages.
Conchita Poonin, who works at Château Westmount, earns $13.67 an hour after 16 years on the job.
Her starting wage was $8.01.
"They don't have concerns about the employees," she said.
Until Poonin, 60, cut back her hours earlier this year, she was working five days a week caring for residents — helping with personal hygiene, bathing and dressing.
Workers have been calling for a wage increase from the current average of $12.50 to $15 an hour.
Earlier this month, 3,000 employees from 42 private long-term care homes held a one-day rotating strike, marking the first time unionized workers at private seniors' residences have walked off the job.
The strike on Monday and Tuesday will affect seniors' homes in the Montreal region but also in Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Chicoutimi and Saguenay.
Some 80 per cent of the striking workers are women working as housekeepers, nursing assistants, cooks and team leaders, according to the union, the SQEES-FTQ.
Essential services will continue during the strike. The union says its next step is to hold a general strike.