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Legault should intervene in ongoing Quebec daycare strike, unions say

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MONTREAL — Three major unions representing daycare workers in Quebec joined parents and opposition parties today in asking Premier François Legault to intervene in a strike that's shuttered hundreds of government-subsidized centres across the province. 

The calls came today at a press conference held in Montreal.

About 10,000 workers affiliated with the Confederation of National Trade Unions have been on strike since Wednesday, and further daycare unions are threatening to walk away if no agreement is reached by Thursday.

Stéphanie Vachon, a representative of the province's largest group of daycare workers, says Legault needs to quickly intervene in the negotiations considering what's currently being offered to the workers. 

Contract talks with the government stalled over pay raises for support staff such as kitchen and maintenance employees. 

Quebec has offered a pay raise of about 20 per cent over three years for educators, but support staff were offered pay raises of up to nine per cent over the same timeframe.

"With what's on the table, we really need an intervention, something fast," Vachon said at the news conference.

Legault's office directed requests for comment on the unions' demands to the province's treasury board, which did not immediately respond.

The premier said last week that the unlimited strike was "terrible" for both parents and children, but ruled out back-to-work legislation at the time.

Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel said on Friday the government's offer addresses the daycare unions' objectives and priorities. 

Manon Masse, the co-spokesperson for provincial opposition party Quebec solidaire, said she fears the inadequate working conditions will weaken Quebec daycares already struggling with a labour shortage. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2021. 

The Canadian Press