Unite union to discuss fuel tanker deal

Signs at petrol station Panic buying led to fuel shortages

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The Unite union will meet next week to discuss a proposed deal aimed at ending the fuel tanker drivers' dispute.

The deal was tabled on Friday following six days of talks between the union and officials from six distribution firms.

The threat of a strike over safety, pay and working conditions resulted in panic buying at petrol stations.

About 60 union representatives from across the country will discuss the deal and have until Friday to accept the proposals or announce a strike.

Both sides have agreed that the details of the deal will remain confidential.

Outside the headquarters of the conciliation service Acas, the assistant general secretary of Unite, Diana Holland, said the talks had been "intense and complex".

She said: "We have done as much as we can and we have a document we now can discuss. But we will keep the process confidential until the people who matter make the decision."

'Resolve dispute'

BBC transport correspondent Richard Westcott described it as "big step forward" but added that the big sticking point appeared to be pay.

He said it was unlikely the talks among union delegates would begin on Monday, because no venue had yet been chosen to host the discussions.

Diana Holland, Unite: ''We have worked together constructively''

They will either accept, reject or demand changes to the deal, and have until Friday to do so.

Unite represents 2,062 tanker drivers, covering 90% of supplies to forecourts, and is calling for minimum standards of pay, hours, holiday and redundancy.

Alan Davison, representing the tanker companies, said: "We are now in a position where we have a final set of proposals and hopefully we can resolve this dispute."

Peter Harwood, of Acas, said he was pleased with the result following two weeks of talks.

He said: "Acas has been shuttling between the parties and the process has been a long and challenging one. But we are pleased to announce that a set of proposals have been reached."

Under rules governing strikes, the union has to give seven days' notice of any industrial action.

Earlier on Friday, the union had been given an extension to its deadline for declaring strikes so that talks could continue.

Under employment law, the union should have made a decision by late afternoon on whether to call its members out on strike after they voted last month for industrial action.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said it welcomed the possible deal.

A spokesman said: "We hope that this will lead to the threat of strike action being lifted. The government continues to believe that any strike action is wrong and unnecessary."

There were chaotic scenes at garages across the UK earlier this month as people queued for petrol after the government advised motorists to top up their tanks.

The government faced criticism that its advice had caused panic buying.

Army drivers have been trained to deliver fuel to petrol stations in case of a possible strike.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    15. The Cheshire Cat
    Whilst I agree with the thrust of your argument, it’s worth pointing out that there are a group of people who held our country to ransom & still think they are worth bonuses & high pay rises every year.
    Meanwhile the rest of us have been brain washed into believing that we have to accept austerity, falling living standards & be grateful for any job we have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    hey uno what, so what if it was about wages, why shouldnt they want a bit more for making sure people get where they want to be??

    nice to see youve all turned attention away form thieving bankers and MPs who dont seem to be curbing their salaries and bonuses or the scroungers who are still on the take

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    It shows just how much the Con goverment try to make the unions look the bad boys in this world.The management also try dirty tricks and put down the workers because that is what they are trained to do. Please remember that unions are only trying to look after the work force as opposed to a vast number of bad management who are trying to get the most without paying for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Every day we see stories of bankers and CEO's awarding themselves millions yet when ordinary working blokes ask for a) a decent wage and b) appropriate safety measures; there's an outpouring of bile and anger almost second to none.
    Tanker drivers are not the problem we need to be worried about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    I am in charge of public safety to the tune of 200,000 people per week and I am very good at it.

    -Judging from your previous comment you appear to consider public safety is dependent on how much you get paid,the better the pay the less safe you can be, not a particularly clever attitude regarding people driving around 50,000 litres of flammable liquid.

    Have you considered a career change?

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    If it really is a matter of "safety", why is ACAS involved with negotiations rather than getting a ruling from HSE?

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Quite likely this was always going to be resolved without a strike, threats of which are a routine part of negotiations but do not usually become news. All the chaos came through a huge over-reaction from the govt: - making a big deal of training the army to drive tankers and then panicking people with the bad advice. A blatant attempt to demonise the union for political reasons which backfired.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Lets all get electric cars - dump the gas guzzlers and fuel deliveries who needs it anyway; drilling holes in the Earth and draining hydrocarbons that ought never leave the Earth's crust in the first place - problem solved. That would please The Department for Energy and Climate Change as well, no ? Just plug the car in when you get home.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Kerpak33 seem's like you are a torie mate? remember torie idiot said fill jerry cans and started panic buying of petrol. so if labour gets in so bye bye mate the door open for you so turn off the light when you go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I suppose the Union bashing select imagine that big business has no interest in driving down costs and increasing profit at ANY cost. What a dreamy world you must live in.
    Strange how there is little or no divisive rhetoric from Government ministers when it comes to Strike action within the Private sector.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Hmmm, I wonder if they will try and stretch these talks a bit more, with the Olympics not too far away?

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Being a redundant tanker driver myself, it is easy for everyone to say it is about pay but there are no pay negotiations being held here! Drivers have annual or bi annual agreements and these are not being discussed at these talks.
    Talk of the previous strike... What strike? I think they will find that was fuel protesters that caused the country to grind to a halt nothing to do with tanker drivers

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    25.Ron - ".....My brother has explained all to me......."

    That does not answer my point that you seem to think tanker safety is only to do with working hours & nothing else.........

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    This just goes to show that it is far better for a union to sit around a table with the company and an arbiter to discuss their grievances like adults instead of coming out with their usual threats and "up the workers" rhetoric.

    Strike law should be amended so that all disputes are sent to professional arbitration before the unions can even think of withdrawing their member's labour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Dirty job, someone's gotta do it ! Let the army chaps have a go, and fire the winging cartel / cabal of these fuel truck drivers !

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    "I hope the unions members see sense and realise they are pawns in the Trot led unions game against the Tories who they hate"

    Don't fool yourself. Union members aren't pawns - we hate the Tories every bit as much as these fictional "Trots" you're rolling out.

    Good God, man - this isn't the 70s. The implication that "Red" Len is MAKING people strike is utterly risible.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Whatever Government had got in would have been very unpopular due tot he action needed to try and stabilise the horrific mess the banks and the last LABOUR governemnt left us all in. People seem to have short memories about this. What's more concerning is that we have a lot of the same two faced, incompetent people in the shadow cabinet. I'm off to pastures new if they ever got in again

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    21 Little_Old_Me
    I am so glad you are not in charge of public safety...
    I am in charge of public safety to the tune of 200,000 people per week and I am very good at it.
    My brother has explained all to me, so get off you high horse, this is about working less hours with more pay

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    There is a strong possibility of Doctors and Nurses taking industrial action later this year, I await the announcement from the Hapless Lansley that people should stock up on visits to the hospital and store blood in Gerry cans in their garages and blaming it on those well known Trots the Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association!

    What a bunch of useless Numpties

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Good, I will be able to use my bath again!

    I'm having to drive round the M25 to get rid of the stuff.


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