Unite union to ballot oil tanker drivers over strikes

Oil tankers
Image caption The union says it will be balloting 90% of drivers supplying petrol to UK forecourts

Thousands of tanker drivers across the UK are to be balloted for strike action in a row over safety and working practices, the Unite union has said.

Unite will start balloting more than 2,000 drivers who work for seven major fuel distribution firms next week.

It warned that supermarkets, garages and airports could all be affected.

The government said it was aware of the union's ballot plans and urged it "to resolve the issues it raises directly with the employers concerned".

Unite wants to see a forum established to agree industry-wide best practice on safety, training and terms and conditions.

It said the ballot would cover about 90% of drivers supplying petrol to UK forecourts.

"This is not about pay - this is about ensuring that high safety and training standards are maintained so that our communities are safe," said Matt Draper, Unite national officer.

Over the next two days the union will serve notice of the ballot on Wincanton, DHL, Hoyer, BP, JW Suckling, Norbert Dentressangle and Turners.

A spokeswoman at Wincanton said the company had been recognised by the Energy Institute in November as being a leader in terms of health and safety.

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