Unite, the UK and Ireland's largest union has warned that petrol shortages and delays to flights are likely to occur as tanker drivers prepare for strike action. The union announced on Thursday the tanker drivers employed by Hoyer Petrolog UK Limited based in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire town are preparing to take industrial action in a pay dispute.
The company also delivers aviation fuel to Leeds Bradford airport on behalf of Essar and Liverpool John Lennon airport on behalf of World Fuels Services and the dispute would also impact the operations of BP, Shell, and Essar at the Stanlow refinery.
The union said in a statement that the dispute is a result of Hoyer operating several different contracts from its Ellesmere Port hub but employing tanker drivers on different terms and conditions and different rates of pay.
The workers have overwhelmingly backed industrial action in a consultative ballot and a full industrial ballot is currently being prepared. If members vote for strike action, then disruption to garages and airports will occur this autumn.
Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said in a statement, "Our members are highly qualified, skilled and dedicated but Hoyer is ignoring this when bidding for contracts, in what can only be described as a race to the bottom. Hoyer has said it has to remain competitive when bidding for contracts but our members have made it clear that they will no longer accept the inbuilt pay disparity."
"If strike action occurs it will have a massive impact on fuel deliveries throughout the North West and beyond. However, our members will only take strike action as a last resort. Unite remains open to negotiations at any time. However, the only way a dispute can now be avoided is if the company takes the pay claim seriously," the regional officer added.