Drivers face shortages
Tuesday January 17,2012
By Dana Gloger Consumer Affairs Editor
GARAGE forecourts could run short of fuel next week as tanker drivers go on strike.
More than 100 hauliers working for logistics company Wincanton will walk out for a week from 5am on next Tuesday in a dispute over pay and conditions.
The Unite union said the walkouts would hit depots at Immingham in Lincolnshire, Kingsbury in Warwickshire and Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, which deal with fuel deliveries to Jet garages.
It said drivers who had contracts with energy company ConocoPhillips had received “shabby treatment” as a result of a “draconian cost-down agenda with no thought to the job security of the drivers delivering its fuel”.
More than 83 per cent of the drivers voted to take industrial action.
The union warned that the stoppages would hit petrol and diesel supplies across the UK, particularly in the Midlands and the North.
Fuel and haulage experts agreed, but urged motorists not to be tempted to “panic buy” as this would cause even further shortages.
More than 83 per cent of the drivers voted to take industrial action
Kate Gibbs, of the Road Haulage Association, said: “There is a chance that this could cause disruption to oil supplies. It also depends how long it takes before this dispute is resolved and whether there will be any further strikes.
“But we would strongly urge people not to go panic buying because that will really make any problems much worse.”
Matt Draper, Unite national officer, said: “Our members could not have sent a clearer message. Wincanton may well be surprised by the strength of feelings among its drivers, but it ignores their concerns at its peril.
“The steady erosion and the ongoing attack on the pay and terms and conditions of not only these drivers, but of all those in the industry, must stop. The drivers have had enough.”
Mr Draper added: “ConocoPhillips holds the key to resolving this dispute. All it needs to do is re-think its decision to abandon Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment regulations and commit to protecting the terms and conditions of the drivers who deliver the company’s fuel to its forecourts safely and on time.”