Workers are now on strike at nine grocery stores owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd.

About 1600 employees in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton walked off the job at midnight. The stores affected are three Zehrs Great Foods outlets in Windsor, another in Kingsville, and two Real Canadian Superstore outlets in Windsor. Stores in Chatham, Leamington, and Sarnia are also impacted by the strike.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union says contract negotiations will resume Thursday. Wages, work schedules and benefits are among the issues cited after a tentative contract agreement was rejected by workers last month.

Loblaw says all nine stores will remain open with modified store hours. Some reductions of in-store services are expected.

UFCW locals 175 and 633 voted in favour of a strike when talks initially broke off on May 5.