Workers are close to entering their third week of strike action at a Nestlé plant in Canada in a dispute over pension pay.

Some 461 workers have been staging a walkout at the Sterling Road factory in Toronto since 5 May, according to local trade union Unifor.

Employees have dropped their tools over a “lack of improvements to pensions” and the time it takes workers to reach the top rate of pay.

Negotiations with the Milkybar maker have had “zero advances”, the union said in a statement, with the next talks due to take place next week.

The Ontario Regional Council has donated C$5,000 ($3,659.2) to support striking workers.

Speaking to Just Food, Nestlé said it had offered “a fair and equitable agreement, that was supported by Unifor”.

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It added: “The union recommend the agreement to their membership, but unfortunately, they did not accept the offer and opted to strike.

“We remain open to discussions and resuming negotiations. As always, we look forward to reaching a resolution and having our valued employees return to work.”

Just Food has contacted Unifor for a response to Nestlé’s comments.

Speaking at a rally held yesterday (24 May), Eamonn Clarke, president of the Unifor’s Toronto branch, Local 252, said: “It’s important for the company to present a fair offer where they recognise the difficulties workers face nowadays.

“It’s not just about wages – it’s more than that. It’s about pensions and about their future. I’m proud of our members for not just looking at the short-term, but the long-term, and that’s why these proposals on pensions are so profound.”

The Sterling Road plant manufactures KitKat, Coffee Crisp and Aero chocolate bars and Smarties chocolate confectionery.

When the strikes first began earlier this month, Nestlé said it did not expect any impact the availability of its chocolate brands.

This is not the first time the Toronto site has been subject to strikes, said Unifor. In 2001, employers engaged in a stoppage for 20 days, again due to a dispute around pension pay and “grow-in rates for new employees”.