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Both Sides in Manitoba Liquor Strike Return to Bargaining Table

August 17, 2023 1:28 PM | News

Manitoba Liquor Mart Strike

The Liquor Mart at 2851 Pembina Highway. (FILE)

WINNIPEG — The union representing striking Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries employees says the company is returning to the bargaining table.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union and MBLL will meet on Friday to work towards an agreement to end the ongoing strike.

Most Manitoba Liquor Mart stores have been closed for more than three weeks as the union pushes for wage increases amid an expired contract for its employees.

“A contract negotiated and agreed to by both sides is preferable to a contract imposed by an arbitrator,” the union said in a statement.

“A negotiated contract is endorsed by both the union and the employer, and most importantly, all members get to vote on it. Members have no vote when a contract is settled by arbitration.”

An impartial arbitrator recommended on Monday that both sides proceed to binding arbitration, ending the strike immediately.

“The whole job of an impartial arbitrator is to determine what is fair and reasonable when the parties are deadlocked, which is exactly why the independent conciliator recommended arbitration,” said Gerry Sul, MBLL president and CEO.

The union is pushing for general wage increases of 5%, 3.3%, 3.6% and 3.6% over four years.

A handful of Liquor Marts remain open with limited hours across the province.