12/06/2014 01:17 EST | Updated 02/05/2015 05:59 EST

OPSEU gets strike mandate as contract talks with province head toward Dec. 31

TORONTO - Ontario Public Service Employees Union members have given their negotiators a strike mandate as contract talks with the province face an end-of-the-month deadline.

The union says its central, corrections and unified divisions representing 35,000 Ontario government workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of giving bargaining teams a mandate to call a possible strike.

Voting took place between Wednesday and Friday.

OPSEU is concerned about privatization and outsourcing of jobs.

It says that the province's opening offer would lead to layoffs.

The current contract expires Dec. 31.