Negotiations broke down between Manitoba Hydro and unionized employees who were in a legal strike position as of 6 p.m. Friday.

Talks were taking place earlier in the day to try to avert the strike but discussions reached an impasse, says the union.

Close to 3,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2034 were set to walk out.

The union says the main issues are salaries and length of the contract.

Hydro says some managers have been trained to maintain core services such as distribution lines. Some customers can expect delays in areas like new subdivisions, hooking up new customers and if people need help locating underground cables, says the utility.

The union says it will ensure emergency services are covered.

While an agreement to cover emergency services is in place, hydro is not officially defined as an essential service.

The strike marks the first one in the utility's nearly 50-year history.

Both sides say they want the strike to end as soon as possible and are committed to making that happen.

- with a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout