Early childhood workers and educators strike for fair wages and better working conditions
Early childhood service workers are striking for four consecutive days this week to complete their 10 day striking mandate, says Najoua Zitouni, Vice-President of Negotiations at the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) and spokesperson for the early childhood education workers. On the fourth day of striking this week, November 25, workers will meet with the union to discuss further action. Zitouni notes that they may seek a mandate for striking indefinitely.
Early childhood educators and workers are asking for fair wages for all positions within daycare centers, time for pedagogical planning, better vacation and sick days and better support for children with special needs and specialized early childhood educators.
“The government has implemented a wage increase for trained early childhood educators but not for other workers such as those responsible for managing food, pedagogical advisors, specialized educators, and special attendants. These workers and positions are essential in order for daycare centers to function. The conflict comes from the government's lack of recognition of these workers,” says Zitouni, noting that the government has not acknowledged their other demands.
Zitouni explains that there is already a work shortage, and if the work conditions do not improve, day care center services will not be able to function effectively. These conditions will not encourage new generations to pursue careers in early childhood education.
“We appreciate the support and understanding of the parents during this time. We wanted to avoid issues relating to the strike but it was necessary. It is better to close for a few days than to see daycare services fail completely,” says Zitouni, highlighting that pressure from parents could help encourage the government to take the workers' demands seriously and find a solution to this problem.
Photo: Early child educators and workers striking in front of Centre de Petite Enfance (CPE) Le Chalet, November 22 as part of province-wide day of action to press Quebec for better conditions. Photo: Sophie Demers