Both sides returning to bargaining table in Liquor Mart strike

Both sides are heading back to the bargaining table in an attempt to reach a deal in the Liquor Mart strike.

On Friday, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) and the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU) will be meeting for a bargaining session, in a move that the union is calling a “significant step forward.”

“All our members want are fair wage increases that help all liquor workers keep up with the rising cost of living – just like the Premier and her cabinet are taking for themselves,” MGEU said in a statement.

The union said it is hopeful that Friday’s meeting will be productive and lead to more bargaining sessions. It added that a contract that is negotiated and agreed upon by both sides is preferable to one imposed by an arbitrator, as it means members get to vote on it.

MGEU noted that a negotiated contract can also be voted on and implemented quickly, while arbitration can take longer.

Earlier this week, CTV News Winnipeg reported that MBLL accepted a recommendation from a conciliator to move ahead to binding arbitration; however, the MGEU said it needs more assurances to move ahead with that plan.

A Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries spokesperson confirmed both sides would be meeting Friday with the conciliator to review and discuss items.

“On the issue of the general wage increase, the conciliator has recommended to both MBLL and the MGEU that they proceed to binding arbitration, ending the strike immediately,” the spokesperson wrote. “MGEU leadership, however, has not committed to this course unless the independent arbitrator is bound to minimum general wage increases of 5%, 3.3, 3.6% and 3.6% over four years.”

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