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
    +8

    Comment number 82.

    You have to admire the rational, mature way that both sides appear to have approached this dispute. Compare and contrast with the hysterical rantings of government minister Francis Maude, urging people panic buy petrol and hoard fuel at home in "jerry cans".

  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 81.

    It's an interesting coincidence that " poorly paid workers", such as tanker Drivers, yes we know the size of their pay packet, and some teachers, ditto, trying to hold the country to ransom. No doubt dear Ed will be giggling.

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 80.

    a minister tries to raise a bit of bulldog spirit to fight the pirates and all we can do is heap abuse and ridicule (admitedly is fine line between bravery and foolishness). Death to improvisation and (attempted) creativity! Lets ban conkers! The main shocker was the lack of safety advice. But then who said any politicians have got a clue.Anyway isnt this about striking not a misguided politician?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 79.

    Hang on... They threaten stike due to unsafe working practices,
    Now the biggest sticking point is pay!!??? £45K must be a stuggle.
    Hmmm.. Highway robberry. They are no better than Dick Turpin!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 78.

    #75 cheers - going for a walk's all very nice. But I work 20miles away from where I live - NHS put me there as well, so not my choice before you ask. If I run I suppose I could do it in 4 hours.

    Please people - only fill up if you have less than a quarter tank left.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 77.

    These drivers should try managing on even less money! What's the point of gaining qualifications and vast quantities of experience if an employer will NOT pay a rate commensurate with said qualifications and experience, preferring instead to crave ongoing gratitude for sparing the recipient from the dole queue?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 76.

    63. steve
    16 MINUTES AGO
    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.
    ----------
    Indeed they are called bankers!
    ``````````````

    Ah! the bogey man, it wasn't me Guv argument.
    Well if that's the standard, I'll not stay.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 75.

    that really is bad news, I was hoping that they would go out on strike and the dispute would be a long one. Then there would have been fewer and fewer cars on our roads, and I would have been allowed to indulge in a simple pleasure (walking) without the threat of death, and without the noise and pollution of that immensely evil thing, the killing machine.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 74.

    As long as Maude keeps his mouth shut it's all good by me. I don't want to see or hear of anyone else setting themselves on fire due to stupid advice.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 73.

    Wait untill you see the spin and whitewash the government puts on the police seeking the right to industrial action after all of their cutbacks and additional restrictions. When do we get to take the knife to MP's Salaries, Pensions and restictions?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 72.

    whats unfair is that one segment of society can go on strike, the rest have to rely on individual tribunals etc to deal with any perceived unfairness.

    -If you are an employee you can go on strike if you want, if you choose not to join a Union your employer will undoubtedly ignore your rights and probably attempt to sack you if you do.

    This is an excellent argument for joining a Union.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 71.

    I hope the safety issue has been cleared up and that the drivers have the sense to vote for no strike action. A strike of this nature would bring chaos to this country and very bad feeling if the army were brought in that is not their job. It is time all these matters had to be discussed for say 6 months before strikes were allowed and if not settled in that time the 2 parties Gov/un be blamed.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 70.

    Sorry Mods, for being off-topic - but shouldn't Andrew Lansley be reported to the Health and Safety Executive?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 69.

    It may be time for another mindless buying frenzy?

    Perhaps a "stampede" at the post office, followed by a "high octane", lock-down at the petrol station?

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 68.

    whats unfair is that one segment of society can go on strike, the rest have to rely on individual tribunals etc to deal with any perceived unfairness. Need a level playing field. Either everyone has the right to strike or noone (but with other appropriate mechanisms in place). If country as a whole wants the former at least its democracy. Even if it would make Greece look like the new China

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 67.

    64. Dancin Pagan The Mad Kiltie

    The same misinformation that the BBC is advocating on their TV news broadcasts, absolutely no mention that it was the Government who caused the panic or of Maudes illegal advice re jerry cans.

    --

    Just goes to show that your average UK motorist is too stupid to think for themselves and that they need the nanny state and the media to tell them what to do.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 66.

    It may have escaped the Government's notice but the price of a barrel of crude oil has fallen by 5% in the last 3 weeks while the price charged by oil companies at the pumps has risen by 5%.

    Presumably this is all Unite's fault too, nothing to do with the hysteria engendered by the Governments utter ineptitude while interfering in a normal industrial negotiation for purely partisan reasons?

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 65.

    They should not have been employed if they did not know H/Safety rules, they are being greedy, but also Unite bosses give themselves huge salaries plus expenses.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 64.

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

    The same misinformation that the BBC is advocating on their TV news broadcasts, absolutely no mention that it was the Government who caused the panic or of Maudes illegal advice re jerry cans.

    License fee fears neutralise BBC unbiased news reporting. Public memory reduced to 2 days.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 63.

    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.
    ----------
    Indeed they are called bankers!

 

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