The first strike action taken by fuel tanker drivers for over a decade could be about to take place. The drivers have been complaining about safety standards for a long time and very little action has been taken by companies in order to improve the situation. 2000 members of the trade union, Unite, have said that they are considering a national strike campaign.
Around 90 percent of tanker drivers in the UK are part of the Unite union and it is estimated that a strike by these workers could affect around 8000 petrol stations across the UK. It is widely expected that the drivers will return the vote that says yes to strikes, but Unite have said they will not be making any announcements about strike dates until they have spoken to their local representatives across the country.
Francis Maude a Cabinet office minister has commented, “We have learnt lessons from the past about how to deal with fuel strikes and we are ready to deal with the problem if it goes ahead. We are confident that negotiations will be able to go forward and a solution will be reached. A fuel strike would affect petrol forecourts across the country and cause a significant amount of disruption.”
John Trickett is the shadow minister and he has commented, “The government need to insist that both sides start immediate negotiations. Every moment of delay is a significant waste of time that could ultimately lead to a great deal of disruption in the country.
The government’s highest priority should be that this petrol strike is avoided and it is essential that they understand the gravity of the situation.” The Unite union have stressed that the strike action will not be about pay but is against the fragmented and unstable situation of the fuel distribution industry in the UK.