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Manitoba Hydro meter readers, inspectors could walk off the job after union votes in favour of strike

A union that represents more than 100 utility service workers at Manitoba Hydro has voted almost unanimously to strike.

Members of Unifor Local 681 voted 92 per cent in favour of a strike action Saturday, the union said in a news release. The work stoppage will begin on July 3, if a new contract isn’t reached before then, it said.

The local represents 120 workers at the Manitoba Hydro Utility Services subsidiary, which provides services like meter reading and inspections.

The union said the vote comes after bargaining broke down earlier this month.

The workers’ contract expired two years ago, the union said. Over the last four years, their wages have only increased 1.75 per cent, according to Unifor.

“Our patience for this process is quickly running out,” Unifor’s Western regional director, Gavin McGarrigle, said in the release. “These front-line workers deserve a fair contract and we will mobilize to get what they deserve.”

The union said Local 681 is seeking similar gains to ones already ratified by Hydro for public sector workers.

CBC has asked Manitoba Hydro for comment.

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