Deadline For Tanker Drivers' Strike Decision
The union representing fuel tanker drivers must decide whether to call industrial action today amid talks aimed at averting a strike.
Leaders from Unite spent yesterday at the conciliation service Acas to try to reach a deal with distribution companies and today the talks are continuing into this evening.
They are involved in a dispute over a number of issues, including pensions and terms and conditions.
The two sides have already held six days' of talks, but tanker drivers' representatives overwhelmingly turned down a proposed agreement, despite progress being made on some of the issues.
Under employment law the union will have to give seven days' notice of any walkouts.
As he announced that talks would reconvene this morning, Acas chief conciliator Peter Harwood said: "I am encouraged that the parties are still positively engaged in the process."
The latest talks involve Hoyer, even though Unite is to reballot its members at the firm after the union discovered that a number of its members had not received ballot papers during the original voting last month.
Unite represents around 530 drivers at Hoyer, one of the biggest distribution firms, which delivers fuel to Esso and Shell garages.
The Hoyer workers, who voted 59.7% in favour of strikes in a turnout of almost 80% in the previous ballot, will vote again in the weeks from April 26 to May 8.
There were chaotic scenes last month after the Government advised motorists to top up their cars with petrol and store fuel in jerrycans.
This lead to panic buying and shortages of supplies which resulted in widespread criticism of the Government's handling of the dispute.
Despite the rejection of the deal by drivers' leaders, progress was made on a number of issues including pensions, health and safety and training.