Monday 26 March 2012

Tanker drivers vote to strike

Copied from Union News

Tanker drivers delivering fuel to petrol pumps across the UK have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in a dispute over safety and growing instability in the fuel industry.

Members of Unite working for five major fuel distribution firms delivering fuel for household names, including, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, BP, Shell and Esso backed a call for strike action by an average of 69 percent. Turnouts across the five companies averaged 77.7 percent.

Unite urged the employers to meet their responsibility and talk meaningfully about establishing reasonable minimum standards that secure the stability of this vital national industry. Attempts by the union to progress a forum have been thwarted by employers’ unrelenting attacks on drivers’ terms and conditions.

The results for the seven companies involved in the ballot are:

•       Turners 94.4 percent in favour on a turnout of 81.8 percent.
•       Norbert Dentressangle 74.8 percent in favour on a turnout of 71.3 percent.
•       Wincanton 68.4 percent in favour on a turnout of 71.9 percent.
•       BP 60.2 percent in favour on a turnout of 85.8 percent.
•       Hoyer 59.7 percent in favour on a turnout of 79.7 percent.

In DHL drivers narrowly voted against strike action (44.6 percent), but voted in favour of action short of a strike (53 percent). Members in the Suckling voted against strike action (85 percent) and action short of strike (76 percent).

Over 61.1 percent of those voting across the seven companies voted for strike action.

Tanker drivers work in an increasingly fragmented and pressurised industry where corners are being cut on safety and training in a bid to squeeze profits and win contracts. Drivers face growing job insecurity as a result of the contract ‘merry-go-round’ and a ‘beat the clock’ culture has flourished with drivers forced to meet ever shorter delivery deadlines.

Final salary pension schemes have been swapped for inferior money purchase schemes, and some workers are now on their sixth pension in as many years, with 10 to 15 years left to go in the industry.

Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “These votes send a clear message throughout the industry and should prompt all the major companies to get around the table to establish minimum standards.

“This is not about pay – this is about ensuring that high safety and training standards are maintained, so that our communities are safe. It is about a simple measure, the creation of an industry-wide bargaining forum. It is about bringing fairness and stability back to an essential national industry.

“No longer can it be acceptable that oil giants rake in profits, while shirking their responsibility for the stable supply of a national commodity. The measures we are proposing are reasonable, responsible and sensible. We urge them to act and listen.”

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