Union accepts deal, Manitoba’s Liquor Mart strike ends

MGEU union members have voted to accept the latest offer from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, ending a six week strike. Global News

All Liquor Mart locations will be back in full force, after a six-week contract dispute between the Crown corporation and the union representing its employees has ended.

Approximately 1,400 members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) voted to accept the latest offer from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL), which will see all members receive an approximate two-per cent wage increase over the next four years.

“It is unfortunate that we were forced to take strike action to get the government to listen to us, but our collective efforts have resulted in an agreement that will help us catch up and keep up,” MGEU President Kyle Ross said in a press release.

Union workers at the distribution centre will be back on the job Sunday night and all other members could be back to work as early as Monday morning, the press release states.

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The contract also includes yearly compounding general wage increases retroactive to March of last year, pay scale adjustments, more benefits, shift premiums for employees and a one-time lump sum payment.

“Union leadership conceded that the 2% general wage increases would be acceptable, if the special pay scale adjustments driven by the upcoming October 1 provincial minimum wage increase were reallocated,” MBLL said in a press release Sunday.

“The majority of our workers – our lowest paid workers – would get less than the 15% to 25% they would have otherwise received, so that these pay scale adjustment commitments could be spread more broadly.

“The reallocation requested by the union was accepted, and a deal quickly followed.”

The collective agreement shows MBLL employees will receive wage increases totaling approximately 12 per cent over the next four years.

Rotating strikes began on July 19 before a full strike was declared on Aug. 8, when MBLL announced they would shut down most Liquor Mart locations across the province.

The Crown corporation said all Liquor Marts will be open Monday, but two stores, Eastwinds in Winnipeg and 10th & Victoria in Brandon will continue to be exclusive to commercial customers until later in the week.

Deliveries to liquor vendors and bars and restaurants will begin next week.

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