Fears over safety and growing instability in the fuel industry are pushing oil tanker drivers closer to national strike action warns Unite, Britain’s largest trade union. Voting will begin next week in a strike ballot of over 2,000 drivers who work for seven major fuel distribution firms. The ballot will embrace approximately ninety per cent of drivers supplying petrol to UK forecourts.
The firms deliver fuel for around 11 oil companies supplying forecourts across the UK. Strike action could hit the petrol pumps of household names such Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda, BP, Esso and Shell, as well as airports.
Unite makes clear that the vote is not about pay but is about establishing a forum to agree industry-wide best practice on safety, training and terms and conditions in order to stabilise a nationally vital industry. According to Unite, the union’s attempts to progress the forum have been thwarted by employers’ unrelenting attacks on drivers’ terms and conditions.
Over the next two days the union will be serving notice of the ballot for strike action on seven major distribution companies, Wincanton, DHL, Hoyer, BP, JW Suckling, Norbert Dentressangle and Turners.
Matt Draper, Unite national officer, says: “This is not about pay – this is about ensuring that high safety and training standards are maintained so that our communities are safe. It is about a simple measure, the creation of an industry-wide bargaining forum. It is about bringing fairness and stability back to an industry that is now controlled by faceless global giants.”