Latest Public Sector News

23.04.12

Tanker drivers resume talks

Talks to resolve the tanker drivers’ dispute will resume at Acas later, after the union Unite rejected a proposed deal last week after six days of talks. The union now has until Tuesday to make a decision on strike action, but has appealed to the public not to panic.

The union would have to give at least seven days notice before taking strike action.

Nick Dennis, a tanker driver who represents the North East of England for Unite told the BBC: “We understand as a union, this is our last chance to build stable industry, a great industry with our employers as well, to go forward with.

“So it’s key that we get all the foundations in place. We have built some great foundations in the document we’ve done, but it just doesn’t go far enough to give us what we require.

But Dennis added: “If I need to be down there all week in negotiations to come with a document that will satisfy our membership, across the board, then I will spend all week doing that. Because we’re not going to rush into this and call strike action.”

James Hookham, managing director of the Freight Transport Association, which represents the employers, said: “We’re within 100 days of the Olympics and we really have got more important things to worry about and things we need to get right in the logistics industry than worrying whether we’re going to be able to get fuel or not. I think both sides now are very focused that they need to get this sorted out.”

Workers at Hoyer voted 59.7% in favour of strike on a turnout of 80% in the previous ballot, but it emerged that some members did not receive ballot papers. The workers will now vote again, later this week.

Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “It has come to our attention that a number of people did not receive ballot papers. This is a concern because we believe that everyone should have a say. We will be seeking a fresh mandate from our members in Hoyer who like all tanker drivers face a race to the bottom in an increasingly fragmented industry.”

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