After years of no contract, nurses have turned out in record numbers to vote in favour of a strike.

Without a contract for four years, the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) says they want a fair contract. As of Thursday morning, 98 per cent of Manitoban nurses are in favour of striking.

“We were painted into a corner by this government, and we were left with no choice but to act," MNU President Darlene Jackson says in Thursday's announcement. “Our commitment, as always, is to our patients and Manitobans can be assured that we will not be disrupting patient care.”

The 11,954 votes are the union's highest turnout in its history. The union represents the over twelve thousand nurses in the province.

“We are so proud of our members, they really have sent a strong message with this strike mandate."

MNU says since October, they have met with their employer more than 30 times, with no results. They say they are unwilling to provide solutions and accept proposals for the recruitment and retention of nurses.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has made worse what was already bad," they say in a statement.

Premier Brian Pallister would not comment on the strike vote, saying he did not want to negotiate through the media.

MNU says they are committed to continuing with collective bargaining. The next step is working with a Provincial Collective Bargaining Committee.