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Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario has reached a tentative contract agreement with its workers, just hours before a midnight strike deadline.

Details won't be released until after the LCBO board studies the agreement an the employees conduct a ratification vote.

The union had complained during talks that too many LCBO employees are restricted to part-time work, with some getting only two-hours a day.

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Board spokeswoman Heather McGregor said the tentative deal is fair to both taxpayers and the 6,700 employees affected.

Denise Davis, who headed the union's bargaining team, said she believes the agreement meets workers' expectations and is recommending they accept it.

"These were very tough negotiations," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

He said the union didn't get everything it sought at the bargaining table and the LCBO didn't get everything it demanded from the workers.

"But I'm pleased to announce that our bargaining team is satisfied with the tentative contract agreement reached with the LCBO," said Thomas.

Once the tentative deal was signed, the president of the LCBO thanked the public for its patience as the negotiations reached a critical point.

"We believe this agreement is fair to employees, is in the best interest of taxpayers and will enable LCBO to continue to provide responsible, quality service to customers and licensees across the province," Bob Peter said in a statement.

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The prospect of a strike led to uncertainty on whether Ontarians would be able to buy alcoholic beverages for the Victoria Day long weekend.

The threat of a strike prompted Ontarians to head to their local liquor stores in the hours before the midnight strike deadline.

A tally on sales wasn't immediately known, McGregor said.

"We don't have final numbers on that," she said.

"Sales were certainly brisk."

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