October 3, 2008 / 3:07 AM / 9 years ago

Loblaw faces strikes in two western provinces

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Unionized workers at Loblaw Cos Ltd operations in two western Canadian provinces are set to walk off the job over the next several days if no contract deals are reached.

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union will set up picket lines outside stores in Saskatchewan on Saturday morning unless a deal is reached by the end of Thursday, the union said.

In Alberta, the union said workers will strike in Edmonton on Monday and in Calgary on Tuesday. It said the company had presented an offer that improved wages but did not meet demands in areas such as night work premiums.

The union said it would put the offer to a vote that could end the strike, but added it was recommending members reject it. It did not say when the votes would be held, but indicated it would be after the strike begins.

The workers are employed at the company’s Extra Foods, Real Canadian Superstores and Real Canadian Wholesale Clubs.

The company declined to comment on the specifics of the negotiations, but said they were still talking with the union and optimistic agreements could be reached.

Loblaw had been in a contract dispute with its workers in Manitoba, but a strike was averted after they reached a tentative agreement last week. A ratification vote is pending.

Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson

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