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The union representing the 5,000 store and office employees of the Société des alcools du Québec launched a two-day strike Wednesday to protest against a lack of progress at the bargaining table.

The walkout began at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and, failing any progress in negotiations, will continue on Thursday.

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The strike days are two of the 15 the union rank and file voted to use to pressure management.

The sticking points in contract talks are full-time job positions, access to insurance and access to training.

The question of salaries has yet to be raised, the union said.

SAQ management has said a plan to continue business operations will be implemented in the event of a strike and limited access to the outlets will be maintained.

On Wednesday, multiple public demonstrations by the union were planned for Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Saguenay, Gatineau, Rouyn-Noranda and Ste-Thérèse.

Union officials are to meet the news media later on Wednesday morning at the Place des Festivals in Montreal.

Speaking to reporters in Quebec City on Tuesday, SAQ CEO Jacques Farcy said negotiations were progressing and he was confident a deal would be reached.

He added that in the event of a strike and while the SAQ would try and keep as many outlets open as possible, only management personnel were permitted to work in stores.

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