Nova Scotia

Oland Brewery workers accept new deal

Unionized workers at Oland Brewery in Halifax accepted an offer by Labatt Breweries of Canada on Sunday, avoiding a lockout.
Unionized workers at the Oland Brewery in Halifax voted in favour of a new contract.

Unionized workers at Oland Brewery in Halifax accepted an offer by Labatt Breweries of Canada on Sunday, avoiding a lockout.

Don Roberts, president of Local 361 of the Brewery and Soft Drink Workers, wouldn't say how many of the 130 unionized workers voted in favour of the new seven-year deal, but said it passed by a close margin.

He said he's glad the deal has been made, although some workers are unhappy. There were no details of what is contained in the new deal.

"It should be a good day for some. The vote was close, so there's going to be some mending involved. Where the vote was so close, there's hard feelings on one side, but again it was accepted by the majority," Roberts said.

"It's always, I think, a good thing when you have a contract accepted. It's not everything the membership wanted. It'll take some time to work through."

Brewery spokesman Wade Keller said they're pleased the union accepted their latest offer.

"Our workforce is very professional and we don't expect anything but professionalism going forward," he said.

"There's always give-and-take in negotiations and we accept that. But, at the end of the day, we have a new collective agreement and we can continue with the business of brewing the best brands of beer in the Maritimes."

Keller said the new contract will allow the brewery to be more competitive.

"We feel it's one that will allow our brewery to be more competitive not only with other breweries but within our Labatt network," he said.

"It provides employees with an increase in wages and some other benefits and again it allows the brewery to be competitive."

 Last Friday morning, a majority of the workers at the Agricola Street plant rejected an agreement in principle.

That offer included a 6.5 per cent wage increase over the next seven years, Keller said Friday.

Oland Brewery notified Labour Minister Marilyn More Friday afternoon that the company would lock out employees within 48 hours if they don't agree to a deal.

The average wage for a unionized worker at the brewery is $69,000, Keller said.