Petrol tanker drivers start seven-day strike action

Picket line The refinery at South Killingholme provides fuel to Jet petrol stations

More than 80 fuel tanker drivers at the ConocoPhillips oil refinery at South Killingholme in North Lincolnshire have begun a week-long strike.

They claim their employer, haulage firm Wincanton, is trying to reduce their pay by as much as 20%.

But Wincanton said the industrial action was "wholly unnecessary" and could ultimately put jobs at risk.

Similar action is taking place at depots in Kingsbury in Warwickshire and at Stockton-on-Tees.

The Unite union is warning that deliveries to Jet petrol stations could be disrupted.

The drivers voted by four to one last week to take industrial action, with 95% taking part in the ballot.

Nick Dennis, from Unite, claimed Wincanton wanted to "annihilate" the pay and conditions of drivers.

"Seven months ago the company approached us and asked us to enter into talks into a clear cost-down agenda on our terms and conditions, to enable them to keep their contract with ConocoPhillips.

"What we want is job security going forward. We don't want extra pay. We are willing to negotiate anytime, anywhere."

But in a statement Wincanton said it did "not understand why this strike is happening", and claimed their drivers were "among the best rewarded in the UK".

The company said: "There was never any question that Wincanton would implement new terms and conditions without mutual agreement.

"These discussions were derailed by Unite, who forced a ballot for industrial action."

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