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 62.

    If the reports are true,the motorist is a charity case and there is no profit in providing them with petrol.It`s the selling of news papers and food at the petrol station that makes money.Can`t wait to see germans get richer by becoming a hydrogen ecconomy and power its power stations from deep mined german coal after scrapping nuclear.Long live british coal and all the jobs we lost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    31. cat said: "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."

    Yes and they were supported by the Tories.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    My bet is that everyone will feel the need to top up their vehicles on Weds/ Thurs whether they are advised to do so or not. Lemmings mentality at times instead of rational thinking. Off to the bookies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    The cost of living is rising adjacently with the cost of fuel.
    Wages rise distantly to the cost of living.
    The oil company shell is currently making profits of £2 MILLION an HOUR.

    In many peoples lives fuel is a necessity like food. They need it to get to work/ to get a wage/ to provide for their families.

    What we really need is a strike against the cost of fuel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    The Unite union say this strike is about safety. The industry has a good safety record and the Health and safety executive seem to be satisfied with the standards in the industry. I expect the Government to continue with its contingency planning, it is the Governments job to keep this country moving and not to allow the Unions to further destroy our economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    I hope this is sorted soon I don't like the idea of a tanker of fuel on the road with a driver who has not been trained and is expected to break H&S rules .

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    In my opinion the Unions are only as strong as the members who support them. Its up to the members to dictate what they want, and not settle for Union Leaders who discus and try to persuade members to settle for less. Its OK for Union leaders as they are creaming it of whatever happens, dont ever forget, you pay there wages, so make them work for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Er...my last comment was deleted because I criticised Dave and his buddies for asking us to panic...so I will try again. I now have nothing to panic about this weekend - someone please let Dave and Clegg know..

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Just now
    The company I used to work for has more in house drivers and less contractors than before, could be down to the fact that the competing bids are cheaper.
    There are corners to cut and if you are paid less you cut them.

    You could report your employer to HSE

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    The company I used to work for has more in house drivers and less contractors than before, could be down to the fact that the competing bids are cheaper.
    There are corners to cut and if you are paid less you cut them.
    This is not about wages but bleating on some people earn more than you is part of the way of the world, it won't help driving standards down until everyone is on minimum wage

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Unite is becoming a monopoly and think they have to much power.
    Do they not realise that the economy is in a mess, people are struggling financially and striking only add to these.
    My previous employers (a bank) Union was Unite, and as a union they did naff all to help the staff at the lower end.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    C'mon everybody and stop arguing. This is the BIG society!
    (Sorry, forgot that was not such another good idea).

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    I hope they don't allow themselves to be taken in by this Corrupt Government and Employers premisses that are taken away when Cameron and his poisoned Government decide to move the goalposts again. Dont sell out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    They will be weak and accept it. That's how this country works

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    unions once needed to prevent worker exploitation.world has changed, people are losing jobs; those with jobs work longer for less (& as for opportunities for youngsters..).Its called adjustment for years of reckless ego-driven Labour policy (cant believe I was fervent labour once). But no, medicine shouldnt apply to closest supporters of the wreckers. Animal Farm & all that.The pigs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.


    "tot he action needed to try and stabilise the horrific mess the banks and the last LABOUR governemnt left us all in. I'm off to pastures new if they ever got in again"

    I assume you're just having a laugh right? Everyone knows the last government didn't cause the recession, even Osborne admitted that. BTW, don't let the door hit your bum on the way out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    The government got this right by getting everyone to fill up so the strike would not have had the immediate affect the union was hoping for.

    The budget got it wrong, favouring the wealthy and diminishing age relief will affect the vote on May 3rd when they will suffer.
    I find on the doorstep most people are thoroughly fed up with all the political parties. Shame there aren't more Independents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Everyone sees things through different eyes ! Its like when you get married, after about 5 years have passed you know you'll never win ! Best to chill and not worry about it ! Everyting gonna be alright !

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Yet again we see that what's good for Business isn't necessarily good for the ultimate customer. The fragmentation of such an important supply chain may have been good for profits, but it doubles the exposure of the customer to the possibility of industrial blackmail For crucial fuel supplies to be in the hands of a tiny group of road hauliers and drivers was not in our (or the National) interest

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    To say it is better for the union to sit around the table to discuss is what the ballot was trying to achieve as the oil companies have little communication with their drivers and refuse to talk.
    I know of drivers who complained of being asked to cut corners work over hours and when they complained the company conveniently moved the work to another depot and got rid of these drivers


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