The immediate threat of industrial action by the Unite tanker drivers has been averted, as a final set of proposals was put forward in a bid to end the dispute last night.

Following two more days of talks facilitated by conciliation service Acas, the fuel distribution companies have given Unite until May 21 to decide whether to accept the new deal.

The details of the proposals will remain confidential until the parties report back to their respective organisations. After that the detail may be disclosed by the parties themselves, said Acas.

Peter Harwood, Acas chief conciliator, said: “Following a further two days of intensive discussions, a final set of proposals has been produced by the fuel distribution contractors and Unite. The industrial action mandate has been extended to 21 May 2012 to enable Unite to consult with its Oils Trade Conference and the membership on these proposals.

“Acas would like to thank the parties for their commitment, hard work and patience during the course of these difficult negotiations and hope that these proposals will lead to a successful outcome.”

The Unite tanker drivers overwhelmingly rejected proposals tabled following six days of talks at Acas last Wednesday April 18. On Friday, the fuel distribution companies agreed to extend the industrial action mandate until yesterday and talks resumed on Monday.

A spokesperson at the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “It is encouraging that the parties have worked to produce a final set of proposals, and agreed to allow time for these to be put to the union membership.

“The government continues to believe that strike action would be wrong and unnecessary and hopes that disruptive action is close to being averted.”

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