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Rogers Sugar employees heading back to work in Vancouver after union agrees to deal

The Rogers Sugar facility in Vancouver, pictured on Jan. 26. (Gian Paolo Mendoza/CBC - image credit)
The Rogers Sugar facility in Vancouver, pictured on Jan. 26. (Gian Paolo Mendoza/CBC - image credit)

The union representing 140 workers at the Rogers Sugar refinery in Vancouver says members have ratified a new deal, ending a months-long strike at one of Canada's few large refineries.

Private and Public Workers of Canada (PPWC) Local 8 confirmed the agreement in a statement on Thursday.

"We look forward to returning to work," the statement said.

The union did not release details of the deal, but said it was a five-year agreement "that includes increases to health benefits, wages and maintaining a work-life balance for our members."

Workers voted 94 per cent in favour of the agreement, the statement said.

The Rogers Sugar plant in Vancouver is one of only three large sugar refineries in the country that processes imported cane sugar. The company ran the Vancouver refinery at a reduced capacity after the strike began on Sept. 28, leading to intermittent sugar shortages in Western Canada.

A sign is put up on Rogers Sugar shelves at a grocery store in Vancouver, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.
A sign is put up on Rogers Sugar shelves at a grocery store in Vancouver, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.

A sign warns of shortages on the sugar shelf at a grocery store in Vancouver, pictured on Nov. 16, 2023. (Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press)

The company endorsed the deal in its own statement Thursday.

"We believe this agreement meets the needs of the employees and the organization, and it enables us to serve our customers, increase output and meet growing demand for our product," wrote president Mike Walton.

"We are pleased that the workers at our Vancouver refinery have ratified this agreement, and we look forward to returning to full production in Vancouver to support our customers in Western Canada."

The two sides were at odds for weeks over the company's demand for 12-hour shifts. Rogers Sugar had wanted to increase refinery operations to 24 hours a day, every day.