Fuel-tanker drivers in the U.K. voted in favor of a strike over working conditions, threatening deliveries to thousands of filling stations if negotiations with companies fail.
Unite, the union who’s drivers deliver fuel to 90 percent of the U.K.’s 8,706 forecourts, is seeking minimum standards on pensions, terms and conditions, training and health and safety, according to a notice on its website, without elaborating. The protests are not related to pay, it said.
Previous strikes have caused disruption to the supply of gasoline. In 2000, truckers and farmers brought refineries to a standstill in demonstrations against fuel taxes that led to gasoline rationing in the U.K. In January, 123 truck drivers striked for seven days outside an oil refinery owned by ConocoPhillips (COP) in Humber, northeast England.
About 2,000 drivers would join the protest if members decided to strike, Russ Ball, a regional officer for Unite, said today by telephone. They haven’t yet settled on dates for industrial action, he said.
“The government has robust resilience and contingency plans to deal with the event of a strike,” the Department of Energy and Climate Change said today in an e-mailed statement. “If we have to, we will use emergency powers to make sure supplies for emergency services are prioritized and we will work to ensure trained military personnel are available to drive oil tankers,” it said.
A spokesman for Hoyer GmbH Internationale Fachspedition, one of the companies that provides fuel transport in the U.K., told the British Broadcasting Corporation that pay and conditions for its drivers were among the best in the industry and that they are paid an average of 45,000 pounds ($72,000) a year.
BP Plc, Wincanton Plc and Turners (Soham) Ltd. are the other companies whose workers voted to strike. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. are among companies operating petrol stations in the U.K.
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