Workers at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) have voted 83% in favour of a new contract, which was agreed with employers at the end of July.

The agreement averted strike action which had been threatened over fears from workers that any potential privatisation of the retail monopoly would result in job losses or wage cuts.

But the 5,400 Ontario Public Service Employees Union members across the province voted 83% to accept a four-year deal that includes better protection against privatization.

John Coones, chair of the bargaining team said: "We are pleased that the current government has made a commitment not to privatise the LCBO. This deal will help back up that commitment. We will continue campaigning to hold the McGuinty government to its promise."

The contract, due to expire on 31 March, 2009, protects LCBO employees from agency/franchise stores and contracting out, and makes it easier for casual employees to gain more stable employment. It also includes wage gains of 3% in each of the four years.

Coones added: "The strong strike mandate from our members helped the team fight off the employer's long list of concession demands, and to make solid gains in job security, wages and other key areas. However there are still major issues to address over the life of this agreement, including those faced by casual employees."