03/20/2012 09:04 EDT | Updated 05/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Toronto inside workers vote to strike

The union that represents Toronto's 23,000 inside workers voted in favour of a strike mandate Tuesday, but says workers won't necessarily walk off the job if a deal isn't reached ahead of a Saturday strike deadline.

Fractious negotiations between the city and CUPE Local 79 workers come as the city's library workers continue to walk picket lines since going on strike Monday.

The inside workers will be in a legal strike position by 12:01 a.m. Saturday but Local 79 president Tim Maguire said that doesn't mean a strike will automatically happen when the deadline arrives.

"Local 79 has no intention of walking off the job on Saturday morning simply because there is not a collective agreement, even with a strike mandate," he said Tuesday. “But we will consider that option if the city decides to take away basic employment rights.”

Last month the city's outside workers — represented by CUPE Local 416 — ratified a four-year agreement that included wage increases but clawed back job security.

"The city has not come close to a number of components in that settlement,” Maguire said Tuesday.

CUPE Local 79 represents daycare workers, clerks, child care workers, nurses, janitors, and community centre employees. The union's contract with the city expired on Dec. 31, 2011.

A strike would affect most city services, and likely mean a closure of recreation centres and swimming pools across Toronto.

As it was with the city's outside workers and in the library dispute, the issue of job security is looming large in the negotiations.