Daycare workers warn of general strike next week

By Gordon Lambie

Not having made any more progress in negotiation since their original announcement, it was the turn of publicly funded home daycare workers in the Estrie region to strike on Wednesday. The FIPEQ-CSQ, the union representing subsidized home daycare workers, announced a series of rotating regional strikes at the end of the month of August.
“Next Monday, if nothing changes, we will be in an unlimited general strike across Quebec,” said Valérie Grenon, president of the FIPEQ-CSQ, speaking in front of a large gathering of local daycare workers and supporters in the gazebo at Jacques-Cartier Park in Sherbrooke.
The daycare workers’ concerns are based mainly on the fact that subsidized home daycare workers currently make the equivalent of $12,42 per hour, or 68 cents less than the current minimum wage.
According to Marlène Carbonneau, president of ADIM Estrie, the last offer made by the families ministry was an increase of roughly 40 cents, and that in June. The FIPEQ-CSQ is asking for a salary equivalent to $ 16.75 per hour to give workers full and fair recognition for the work that they do.
Carbonneau and Grenon pointed out that the purpose of the rotating strike system employed to date was to minimize the impact on parents, but the advocates said that without work from Families Minister Matthieu Lacombe, more drastic action will be necessary.
“It is not us who will be holding parents hostage, it is Minister Lacombe,” Carbonneau said. “What we hope is to not have to act on the 21. Unfortunately, if minister Lacombe does not increase his offer, we will have to.”
Carbonneau called the current offer insulting and said that the lack of movement on the part of the government demonstrates ignorance of the vital role the home daycare network provides to the proper functioning of Quebec society.
“Look behind me,” she said. “These women are more than insulted, they are outraged.”
The striking workers were surrounded by 276 bright pink flags meant to symbolize the daycares within the region that have closed in recent years due to unsustainable working conditions.
The rotating strikes move on to the Mauricie region today and will take place in the Monteregie and Laurentians on Friday.

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