WINNIPEG -- Union officials say 50 Sobeys employees in Winnipeg are being laid off as the supermarket chain consolidates its cheese and ice cream operations.

Unifor Local 468 says company officials told employees Monday that its Lucerne Foods plant in Winnipeg, which Sobeys acquired when it bought Canada Safeway for $5.8 billion last year, will close Aug. 29.

The union said Sobeys had said when it bought the Safeway operations that it would retain Safeway workers.

Mark Armstrong, president of Local 468, said employees were "shocked because this came out of the blue and contradicts earlier Sobey's statements about job security."

Sobeys, which is owned by Empire Co. Ltd. (TSX:EMP.A), owns or franchises more than 1,500 stores across Canada under several banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods and Lawton's Drug Stores as well as more than 330 retail gas locations.

Last month, the company signed deals to sell 29 stores in Western Canada for a total of roughly $430 million.

The grocery store chain was required to sell 23 stores as part of an agreement with the Competition Bureau in connection with its purchase of Canada Safeway.