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'A fair deal': Liquor Mart strike ends

All of Manitoba's Liquor marts will be open for business Monday as Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) and its unionized workers have come to a tentative agreement after weeks of strike action.

The MBLL announced Sunday that its 1,400 employees who are members of the Manitoba General Employees Union (MGEU) have voted to ratify the offer.

“We knew a deal was to be had at the bargaining table, and our members proved just that,” said MGEU President Kyle Ross.  “We'd like to thank everyone for their patience, support, and solidarity during this extremely difficult round of bargaining."

Ross said the majority of members voted for the deal. "It was a good turnout, and I think our members believe it’s a fair deal," he said.

The union said employees at the distribution center are going back to work Sunday evening and all other members should return as early as Monday.

The new contract includes compounding general wage increases of two per cent for each of the four years, plus pay scale adjustments reflecting the part-time nature of the workforce.

The deal also features targeted shift premiums and allowances, benefit enhancements, and one-time lump sum payments.

The MBLL said all of those monetary elements, including the two per cent wage increases, were on the table before the strike began.

"MBLL has not had a strike since the 1970s, so we appreciate that the last six weeks may have shaken public confidence in us," said the MBLL in a news release. "Know that we have been planning to begin reintegrating all of our valuable employees immediately, to mobilize full operational activities."

The strike began on July 19 with a one-day, province-wide walkout, then escalated to the point where only two Liquor Marts were open in Manitoba. Picket lines and rallies formed outside many locations and picketers gathered regularly at the Manitoba legislature over the past six weeks.

All Liquor Marts will be open on Monday morning. Two locations, Eastwinds and 10th & Victoria in Brandon, will continue to be exclusive to commercial customers until later this week.

Deliveries to commercial partners and private retailers will resume next week. Top Stories

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