UPDATE 1-Rogers Sugar suspends production at Montreal plant after strike

Tue May 31, 2016 12:53pm EDT
 
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(Adds comment from company spokesman, market reaction)

May 31 (Reuters) - Rogers Sugar Inc, Canada's largest sugar refiner, said on Tuesday it has suspended production at its largest plant as workers went on strike after wage talks at the 128-year-old Montreal-based facility collapsed.

The company is implementing contingency measures to minimize disruption to customers. "There's inventory, the company's (other) facilities and other alternatives," said a spokesman for the company, declining to give further details.

The refinery, operated by Lantic Inc, has capacity to produce about 440,000 tonnes per year of sugar and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rogers. It has 200 unionized workers.

Talks between Lantic and the union began in March after a three-year contract expired.

U.S. and Canadian industry players said the disruption at the key Montreal facility could cause supply ructions if it continued for a substantial length of time, given the importance of the Lantic refinery to the Canadian market.

Rogers also has a cane refinery in Vancouver and a beet processing facility. (Reporting by Josephine Mason and Chris Prentice in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe)