U.S. Steel has locked out nearly 1,000 unionized workers at its Lake Erie Works plant, located in Nanticoke, Ontario.

The plant, which is near Brantford and south of Hamilton, was once considered one of the most productive steel mills in North America.

Bill Ferguson, President of Steelworkers Local 8782, says the company shut the plant’s gates at 9 a.m. Sunday just as planned.

Angry workers are now walking picket-lines outside the facility.

Notice of the lockout was sent to the steelworkers union on Thursday as part of a mutual agreement to give 72-hours notice of any strike or lockout.

This comes after, on Tuesday, the union members voted 70 per cent to reject a final contract offer.

Ferguson says workers would have received an extra $1 an hour under the company’s latest offer, but added that had already been mandated under the cost-of-living clause in the previous agreement.