The Town of Antigonish has locked out five workers at its municipally-owned utility over a contract dispute, but says electrical service to its customers will continue.

Mayor Carl Chisholm said in a news release the main issue is the union demand that 100 per cent of unused sick leave accrued by an employee should be paid out on retirement. Chisholm said the town is only willing to pay 30 per cent of unused sick leave.

The town said the union representing workers gave strike notice earlier this week. The two sides had been trying to reach a new collective agreement.

"The town could not, in good conscience, wait for the employees to walk off the job whenever they wished," the news release from the town said. "To ensure continuity of service, the town implemented a lockout."

The town said a new team is being put in place during the lockout and that customers will continue to be supplied with electricity.

Local 1928 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents the three linesmen, one meter reader and one industrial electrician.