Wincanton has said the proposals offered to Unite represent the limit of what it can agree and believes all balloted tanker drivers should be given the chance to have their say.

A spokesperson from the haulage company, one of the six employers involved in the talks, said it was extremely disappointed that Unite has failed to persuade its membership to accept the proposals agreed with the employers after six days of talks at conciliation service Acas.

“The current proposals represent the limit of what we can agree towards Unite’s aspiration of achieving minimum standards across the industry, but we have requested clarification from Unite on the remaining areas of difference between these proposals and a settlement of the dispute in order to ensure that the talks are focused, meaningful and productive,” the spokesperson said.

“We also believe that Unite should give the entire balloted driver population the opportunity to determine whether the outcome is a good one for them and the industry, rather than confining decisions to representatives at the Oil Trades Forum.”

Wincanton, along with the other employers, has agreed to further talks with Unite facilitated by Acas on Monday April 23 for a maximum of two days. The haulage companies have also offered Unite an extension to the validity of the ballot period until 5pm on Tuesday April 24.

“Wincanton entered into the talks in good faith, having clearly stated that sector-wide collective bargaining on pay was not to be on the agenda,” added the spokesperson. “With just one third of the industry represented by the employers involved, we would be unable to impose minimum pay levels on the wider industry.

“Unite’s concerns over the erosion of standards, security of employment and the newly raised issue of sub-contracting should be directed to the non-regulated players in the industry rather than the employers that Unite already concurs have the best terms and conditions for their drivers, and exemplary health, safety and training standards. Wincanton’s drivers have an average income of around £45,000 per annum.

“We would urge Unite and its members not to take damaging strike action, which would destabilise the industry and cause unnecessary disruption at a time when the UK is gearing up for the important events of the summer. In the meantime, in collaboration with the government, the MOD and our customers, we will continue with our contingency planning in order to minimise any potential disruption a strike may cause.”

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