Hundreds of Quebec daycares closed by general strike as contract talks stall

Strike closes daycares

Roughly 400 public daycare centres across Quebec are closed as of today after contract talks hit an impasse and employees with one of the main unions declared a general strike.

About 10,000 daycare workers affiliated with the Confederation of National Trade Unions are taking part in the strike, with the main sticking point being salaries for support staff.

While Quebec is offering a salary increase of about 20 per cent over three years for educators, support staff including those working in maintenance, kitchen and administration were offered raises of up to nine per cent over three years.

One union representing public daycare employees pointed out that similar jobs are paid between 20 per cent and 35 per cent more in schools and elsewhere in the public sector.

Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel acknowledged in a radio interview today that daycare support staff don't earn as much as their peers in the public sector, but she said that is because their responsibilities and the work setting are different.

Speaking to reporters, Premier Francois Legault ruled out back-to-work legislation "for the moment."

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