Employees of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario are close to striking as talks between unions and employers continue to fail.

According to local reports the main sticking point between the two sides is the fear that the government run LCBO will be privatised, which unions believe will lead to fewer union jobs and potential lower starting wages for employees.

Despite the fact that Ontario's government has rejected calls for a privatisation, the unions say that the employer wants to take a clause out of the current collective agreement that says no staff in the LCBO will lose their position as a result of privatization.

The LCBO said that it did have contingency plans in place in case of a strike.

The Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail said that many restaurant owners were stocking up on wine and spirits in case of a strike.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario has a monopoly on distribution of alcoholic drinks in the province but a government appointed review panel recently urged the province to auction off individual alcohol retail licences, including the assets of the board's 598 stores and 196 agency outlets.

The Ontario authorities, however, rejected the findings of the review panel.