The 330 workers at the Owens Illinois glass plant in Montreal's Pointe-Saint-Charles district have called an indefinite general strike.

The workers, members of the FTQ-affiliated United Steelworkers (USW) union, passed a strike mandate by more than 97 per cent last week.

On Wednesday, workers set up picket lines at the Pointe-Saint-Charles plant and at the Lasalle warehouse.

Negotiations with management resumed on Monday but quickly reached an impasse, according to the union.

The employer said it was disappointed and asked for help from the Labour Ministry's conciliation service.

The dispute is mainly about wages.

"We're seeing our purchasing power shrink by the minute. We refuse to see wage rollbacks imposed on us again, while our families suffer from rising grocery costs, housing and mortgages. We say no, this time we're putting our foot down," said Eric Dumas, president of the USW local.

In an email, Owens Illinois management said it "participated for three months in good faith negotiations with the USW in Montreal."

"The company was disappointed to learn that the union would not commit to an amended offer presented on May 10 and refused to present the offer to its members despite our requests to do so. Instead, the union has indicated its intention to call an indefinite general strike," management said.

The USW countered that the offer was not presented to members because it "did not contain significant changes" from what they had already rejected a week earlier when they voted to adopt a strike mandate.

Workers at the Owens Illinois plant make glass containers, particularly brown beer bottles. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 11, 2023.