Talks aimed at finding a solution to the fuel tanker drivers dispute are continuing today, holding off threats of industrial action as Unite’s deadline for announcing a strike draws closer.

Officials from the Unite union and seven distribution companies have been meeting under the chairmanship of the conciliation service Acas to reach a deal over drivers’ terms and conditions and other issues such as health and safety.

In a statement last night, Acas chief conciliator Peter Harwood said: “Talks have adjourned for the day and will reconvene tomorrow morning. I am encouraged that talks are continuing and that the parties are committed to finding a way forward.”

According to RMI Petrol, Unite has until March 16 to announce any industrial action. The union must give seven days’ notice of any strike, and has four weeks from the result of the ballot on March 26 to begin industrial action.