Tanker drivers who supply Jet garages are balloting over strike action in a dispute over pay.

The 30-plus drivers, who work for JW Suckling Transport, are based at depots in Essex, west London and Grangemouth.

Their union, Unite, claims that despite extensive negotiations, JW Suckling Transport has refused to increase the rates of pay of drivers on the contract so that they are comparable with drivers employed by other hauliers on the contract. The drivers are paid over £5 less an hour than other drivers for undertaking the same work.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is outrageous that Suckling Transport is refusing to pay its drivers in line with what others receive for the same work on the same contract. This is clearly about boosting its profits at the expense of its workers.

“Unite is solely focused on defending and enhancing its members’ jobs, terms and conditions and our members at Suckling Transport will receive the union’s total support.”

The ballot for industrial action opens on Thursday 9 February and closes on Thursday 9 March. If the workers vote to go on strike then industrial action could begin before the end of next month.

The strike action would affect fuel supplies to Jet Garages across Scotland and from Southampton to Norwich.

Unite regional officer Nick West, who represents the Essex and west London drivers, said: This dispute will inevitably result in severe disruption to fuel supplies to Jet garages but is entirely of Suckling Transport’s own making. It has had every opportunity to resolve this dispute through negotiations but has refused to do so.”

Unite regional officer for Scotland, who represents the drivers at Grangemouth, Lyn Turner said: “It’s time for Suckling Transport to do the right thing and pay our members the same rate of pay that others receive for delivering the same product. In the last nine years our members at Grangemouth have only had two pay increases. Worker are at the end of their tether.”