Locked out workers demonstrating outside a Guelph auto parts plant Wednesday morning were surprised when a van crossed their picket line.

A total of 62 employees of Hematite Manufacturing have been locked out since Sunday morning – hours after they rejected the company’s latest contract offer by a one-vote margin.

The vehicle, they learned later in the day, contained non-union employees who wanted to return to work.

In a development with greater ramifications, Hematite has asked the Ministry of Labour to hold a supervised vote on its most recent offer.

In a statement to CTV News, a company spokesperson said the move was “based on the closeness of the vote and the number of people who did not or could not vote.”

Union members say the company is looking to take away vacation time, make them pay more for their benefits, and implement pay cuts.

They say they understand that the company needs to make cutbacks, but thinks it’s looking to do too much at once.

Larry Boudreau, who has worked at the Speedvale Avenue plant for 32 years, says the last contract offer would have seen him lose $10,000 per year.

“If the company’s going to take $10,000 a year from me, that’s not going to save the company,” he said.

“People just want to meet the company halfway, and the company’s not budging.”

With reporting by Victoria Levy