Tanker drivers employed by national fuel distribution companies have today (Wednesday 18 April) overwhelmingly rejected proposals tabled following six days of talks at Acas.
Unite, the union representing over 1,200 tanker strikers involved in the dispute, has said that it will now seek further talks with the employers, six leading oil distribution firms, and will approach conciliation service Acas for its assistance in this.
The decision to reject the draft document came following today’s specially-convened oil trades conference of 60 Unite oil tanker driver representatives from across the UK. Delegates expressed concern that while progress had been made on health, safety and training, proposals on maintaining standards, security of employment and sub-contracting did not give confidence that the problems gripping the industry would be addressed.
Unite assistant general secretary, Diana Holland, said: “We remain committed to achieving a negotiated settlement that brings stability and security to a vital industry, and gives this workforce - and the public - confidence that the race to the bottom in this vital industry is ending.
"For too long operators have presided over under-cutting and the erosion of standards. This is simply not sustainable, and it is beholden on all parties to work together to establish a meaningful set of minimum standards that brings order to a chaotic industry.
“While there has been some progress it is clear that our members need more guarantees and assurance from the employers about their commitment to meaningful minimum standards. We will be going back to the employers in a bid to reach a negotiated settlement.”
RMI Petrol issued a statement saying it was disappointed that Unite union members have rejected a deal aimed at averting strikes over working conditions.
Brian Madderson, RMI Petrol chairman commented: “We had hoped the discussions between Unite members and their employers would result in a resolution. We hope that further talks announced today will resolve the issues as soon as possible.
“We had hoped the discussions between Unite members and their employers would result in a resolution. We hope that further talks announced today will resolve the issues as soon as possible.
“RMI Petrol continues to offer its fuel retailing experience and expertise to the Government with regard to any contingency planning surrounding the possible strike action.”
UKPIA, the trade association representing the main oil refining and marketing companies in the UK, was also disappointed that members of the Unite union representing tanker drivers have rejected the proposals for settlement of the dispute with their employers.
Chris Hunt, director general of UKPIA, commented: “We had hoped that these proposals would be accepted following conclusion of detailed discussions between the parties at ACAS. We very much hope that further talks will resolve the differences and avoid the prospect of strike action that has the potential to cause serious disruption to the UK economy.”