A strike by employees of Manitoba's government-run liquor stores has been averted, ensuring the yuletide cheer will be flowing freely this holiday season.

Members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union voted 84 per cent in favour of giving negotiators a strike mandate in September.

However, talks between the union and Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) continued, so strike action was shelved.

This week, a new deal was reached that gives about 800 MLCC workers a wage increase of nearly nine per cent over the next four years and improved benefits.

The wage increase is retroactive to March 29, 2009, when the last contract expired.

The unionized employees have voted 83 per cent in favour of the new contract.