Tentative agreement reached in Quebec daycare dispute

MONTREAL - A tentative agreement has been reached between the Quebec government and the union representing about 11,000 daycare workers across the province.

The agreement in principle reached Monday evening means walkouts scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday have been cancelled along with a rally that was set to be held at the provincial legislature in Quebec City on Wednesday.

No details of the tentative deal have been revealed. It will be presented to about 100 union delegates representing the 11,000 workers on Nov. 14, followed by a membership vote.

The employees, who have been demanding better working conditions, have been without a contract for two-and-a-half years.

Other sticking points in the dispute were salaries and a government proposal to raise the retirement age to 61 from 60.

The daycare workers staged a one-day walkout on Oct. 30 affecting some 400 daycare centres and forcing thousands of parents to seek alternate daycare arrangements for more than 21,000 children.

Quebec Family Minister Luc Fortin met with union representatives during the walkout and said he gave the government's negotiator a mandate to bring all parties back to the bargaining table as soon as possible.

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