Childcare workers say the increases announced are a good step in the right direction, but far from enough.
They are demanding better salary conditions than those agreed for the next three years.
We want a salary catch up, we want to be recognized. We want the government to understand that it is not 17% that we want immediately. We want to catch up with everyone, explains a union president of a childcare center in Lanaudière, Jessie Rouleau.
CPE employees marched in the streets of Quebec.
Photo : Radio-Canada/Carl Boivin
CPE educators compare themselves to teachers and health workers in order to demand better working conditions.
It is a government that has a great deal of contempt for the people who care for the most vulnerable in our society. We are in the same gang as the nurses, we are educators and support workers who today claim what we should have done a long time ago, says Mariana, the food manager at Les Éclats de rire.
The unions also consider that the increases granted can constitute a trap, since a work week, for an early childhood educator, revolves around 34 or 35 hours per week.
The maximum salary increases would be granted by Quebec to trained educators, who would agree to work 40 hours per week.
End of overload
Beyond salaries, educators stress that they are responsible for more and more children with special needs. They want better organization of work, less overload and more support, in particular by hiring specialized educators.
The demonstrators marched to the offices of the Treasury Board and the Ministry of the Family in Quebec, before going to parliament to voice their demands.
Negotiations to renew the employment contract are still ongoing with the government. Union members do not rule out resorting to other days of walkout if necessary.
With the collaboration of Sébastien Tanguay