Walmart Inc. is facing a strike by thousands of workers in South America amid the retail giant's push to increase automation at its physical stores.

About 17,000 Walmart workers in Chile went on an indefinite strike on Wednesday after labor talks between the company and the union failed. As many as 124 of the retailer's 375 stores across the country closed as a result of the strike.

At the heart of the dispute is the demand by workers to be compensated for the increase in automation that's forcing them to multitask in their daily jobs, for example, with cashiers now having to restock shelves next to cash registers. Walmart initially offered a 3 percent real wage increase and a one-time payment of $72, while the union asked for a 4 percent salary rise. Walmart says that it later increased the offer to as much as 8.14 percent but that union leader Juan Moreno refused to discuss the offer.