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Tanker drivers at the Stanlow refinery are set to start striking this Thursday June 6

Trade union Unite is warning forecourts in the North West of England and the Scottish Borders to prepare for fuel shortages, as tanker drivers set out to strike over pay from Thursday this week. 

It says that around 50 Stanlow oil refinery-based drivers, who work for Hoyer, recently rebranded as Oxalis, are planning to take industrial action from June 6-8 and June 13-15, causing ”signficant disruption” to supplies to Shell, BP and Esso forecourts.

The drivers are angry that their pay offer is “significantly lower” than their colleagues in other parts of the country. Oxalis drivers in Thurrock and Birmingham, for example, have been offered £2 an hour more than the Stanlow drivers, says Unite.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham says that Oxalis is treating the Stanlow-based drivers as “second-class workers”. She added: ”There is absolutely no reason why this profitable company should not be paying these workers the same rates of pay as their colleagues based elsewhere. They will receive Unite’s total support as they strike for equal pay.”

Unite regional officer Paul Lomax said: “Oxalis’ clients will not be happy that their customers face fuel shortages because the company is trying to pay its Stanlow-based drivers less than their colleagues doing the same job elsewhere. Oxalis needs to put forward an equal offer or this dispute will escalate.”

Further strikes will be called if the dispute is not resolved.

BP, Esso and Shell declined to comment on any anticipated impact on their dealer forecourts.