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Molson Coors plant workers in Toronto on strike, no short-term beer shortage expected

A Molson employee stacks cases of Coors Light at the Molson brewery retail store in Toronto, January 18, 2005.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/J.P. Moczulski.
A Molson employee stacks cases of Coors Light at the Molson brewery retail store in Toronto, January 18, 2005. THE CANADIAN PRESS/J.P. Moczulski.

No beer shortages are expected, at least for the short term, after workers at the Molson Coors plant in Toronto walked off the job when labour negotiations between the union and the beer giant broke down this week.

Around 320 employees at the Carlingview Drive brewery in Toronto hit the picket line at noon on Thursday when both sides couldn’t reach a deal.

The Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers Local 325, the union which represents the workers, said the company wants to cut wages, pensions and benefits by 7 per cent.

READ MORE: Molson Coors says low results due to slow economy and high food prices

The union rejected a “settlement offer” in December after members voted 100 per cent against it.

A statement released by Molson Coors Canada said the company is disappointed the deal fell apart but are committed to reaching a “globally competitive agreement.”

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“At Molson Coors Canada, we are disappointed that our union partners have rejected a deal that is fair to employees, allows the company to be more efficient, and is similar to collective agreements with unionized employees in other Canadian breweries,” VP of Corporate Affairs at Molson Coors Canada Gavin Thompson said.

READ MORE: Molson Coors shares at all-time high on hope of an SABMiller takeover

The company said the labour disruption will not interfere with the distribution of beer to consumers in the “short-term.”

“We have a comprehensive contingency plan in place that prioritizes employee safety and operations while avoiding interruptions to our customer’s businesses and ultimately our great beer drinkers,” said Thompson. “This plan was prepared months ago when negotiations began and will ensure our products are available to customers and consumers.”

Workers at the plant have been without a contract since the end of last year.