Fuel supplies to forecourts in Scotland and the north of England could be hit by a strike by dockers at the Port of Grangemouth, the Unite union has claimed.

Scotland’s only oil refinery is situated at Grangemouth and Unite claims tanker drivers are refusing to cross picket lines.

More than 70 crane drivers and loaders began a two-week strike on Tuesday March 15.

The union claims new rotas being introduced by Forth Ports amount to a “de facto pay cut”, and that the company has refused to hold talks over the dispute.

Unite regional officer Sandy Smart said: “It now looks increasingly likely the company’s refusal to negotiate will affect fuel supplies to forecourts across Scotland and the north of England as this strike escalates.

“Again we are ready and willing to meet with the company, through the conciliation services if necessary, to resolve this dispute through negotiation.

“However, that requires a clear signal from Forth Port’s management that they are prepared to end their imposition and return to a process of proper employment relations.”

A spokesman for the Port of Grangemouth said it needed to alter shift patterns to adapt to seven days a week operation.

They said: “We call on Unite to end this strike, get our people back to work, honour the contracts agreed in 2011 and reopen discussions on these necessary proposals.

“Meanwhile, with the exception of container quayside operations, the remainder of the Port of Grangemouth remains open for business and continues to operate.”