Fuel drivers reject deal raising fears national tanker strike will go ahead

 
Marion Dakers
THE THREAT of a national fuel tanker strike reared its head again yesterday when union reps rejected a deal with distribution firms after six days of talks.

Unite the union, which has until Friday to call a strike, said the proposal on the table did not go far enough on work standards and security for the 1,200 drivers it represents.

The truckers have asked to talk again with the six fuel companies involved to try and reach a deal before Unite’s four week-long mandate to name a strike date expires.

Mediator Acas said it was contacting both sides to help break the impasse.

“It seemed as if there was the basis of a deal at the end of last week – but now they have 48 hours or so to set dates for strike action if they are to keep their strike ballot alive,” said Chris Mordue, an employment partner at law firm Pinsent Masons. The union must give seven-days’ notice of any industrial action.

Energy secretary Ed Davey said he was disappointed and urged the two sides to avoid a strike despite the “complex issues” involved.

The government is keen to avoid the type of panic-buying seen earlier this month.