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Quebec daycare educators hold one-day strike, affecting 21,000 children

Daycare workers demonstrate during their one-day province wide strike Monday, October 30, 2017 in Montreal. Negotiations between the provincial government and the union representing the daycare workers broke down Thursday and have not resumed since. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
October 30, 2017 - 1:00 PM

MONTREAL - More than 11,000 daycare workers staged a one-day walkout across Quebec on Monday, forcing thousands of parents to seek alternate arrangements for their children.

The job action affected some 400 daycare centres and had an impact on more than 21,000 children.

In Montreal, many workers, accompanied by parents, marched from the downtown area to the offices of Quebec Family Minister Luc Fortin.

Picket lines were also set up outside daycares around the province, while a protest was held in front of Fortin's riding office in Sherbrooke.

Fortin indicated he met Monday with union representatives and reiterated in a statement his department is available to pursue intensive negotiations this week.

He also gave the government's negotiator the mandate to bring all parties back to the bargaining table as soon as possible.

"I deplore the fact that children and their parents are the ones who are affected by the strike," he said. "Several negotiating sessions have already been held and they allowed us to settle a majority of the (contract) clauses.

"Parents are waiting for all parties to agree to a satisfactory agreement that will benefit families."

Union spokeswoman Carole Leroux told the Montreal marchers the large number of daycare workers who took part were clearly showing their exasperation and determination.

"We refuse the lowering of standards and the mediocrity the employer is trying to impose during this round of negotiations," she said.

Negotiations between the provincial government and the union representing the daycare workers broke down Thursday and have not resumed since.

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

There are two main sticking points: salaries and the government's proposal to raise the retirement age to 61 from 60.

Both sides blame each other for the impasse, with each accusing the other of being inflexible.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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