They’ll find a way…

I rather think that certain members of Unite the union who drive fuel tankers don’t know which side their bread is buttered on. Here they are on a nice little earner at £45,000 for a 37.5 hour week and they’ve decided on industrial action because of conditions.


Fuel tanker drivers have voted in favour of taking strike action in a row over terms and conditions and safety, according to the Unite union.
The government is holding a meeting with fuel delivery companies and supermarkets to plan tactics for coping with any resulting strike.
Army drivers are being trained to deliver fuel to petrol stations in case of a walkout by tanker drivers.
Unite said there had been “unrelenting attacks” on drivers’ conditions.
In an interview with the BBC’s Hardtalk programme, the general secretary of Unite, Len McCluskey, refused to rule out the possibility that any strike would be held over Easter.
About 2,000 drivers at seven distribution depots took part in the ballot in what was the first national industrial action campaign for more than 10 years.
Unite said five of the seven depots backed strike action, while two did not. Of those five, the vote in favour was 69%. Turnouts across the five averaged 77.7%.
A statement from Unite said: “Tanker drivers work in an increasingly fragmented and pressurised industry, where corners are being cut on safety and training in a bid to squeeze profits and win contracts.

I’m willing to accept that conditions may not be a bed of roses for tanker drivers and that they work in a competitive industry, I’m also quite happy to accept that they have the right to strike, however I’m not happy that the reason they’ve done this is because as a spokesman for Hoyer said…

“Pay and conditions for Hoyer drivers are among the best in the industry. Our drivers earn on average £45,000 a year. They are well rewarded because they are professionals, highly trained and skilled in the work that they carry out, particularly with regard to health and safety.
“We have been actively engaged in discussions with Unite through the Industry Forum to examine ways in which these high health safety and training stands can be applied across the industry but Unite walked away from those discussions. “

That’s right, negotiations broke down because Unite walked away, yet…

Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary, said: “For over a year we’ve been desperately trying to bring about some stability in the sector and urging government ministers to persuade contractors and oil companies to engage in meaningful discussions with us.”

Meaningful discussions that you Len (salary £510,000) walked away from, balloted your members from 7 depots 2 of whom did not want to strike and have used that to try and make businesses do things your way. I suspect they might even win concessions, but I also suspect that the companies will contract out their services in the future to non union sub contractors, because they will not like for one second a trade union telling them how to run their businesses, particularly over safety in an area where the safety record is second to none.

I have yet to learn just which conditions that Unite are complaining about, I suspect in the end though it will come down to pensions, not safety standards.

In other words it will be about money.

I wonder just how many people would be willing to train as a tanker driver for say £35,000 a year, I suspect that for what is essentially a semi skilled job, they’d be overwhelmed…

4 comments for “They’ll find a way…

  1. March 27, 2012 at 6:42 am

    It’s blackmail, pure and simple.

  2. March 27, 2012 at 6:53 am

    The government needs to hammer the H&S aspect hard – because I suspect that the phrase ‘applying it across the industry’ is key here.

  3. PJH
    March 27, 2012 at 9:21 am

    …Of those five, the vote in favour was 69%. Turnouts across the five averaged 77.7%.

    I note that they’ve removed the word “overwhelmingly” from their earlier copy:

    So then, a massive 77.6*.69 = 53.4% of the drivers in the five depots cited, voted to strike.

    Could anyone dig up the results for the remaining two depots to see what the true figure is?

    • March 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      The results for the seven companies involved in the ballot are:

      Turners 94.4% in favour on a turnout of 81.8%

      Norbert Dentressangle 74.8% in favour on a turnout of 71.3%

      Wincanton 68.4% in favour on a turnout of 71.9%

      BP 60.2% in favour on a turnout of 85.8%

      Hoyer 59.7% in favour on a turnout of 79.7%.

      DHL drivers narrowly voted against strike action (44.6%), but voted in favour of action short of a strike (53%)

      Suckling voted against strike action (85%) and action short of strike (76%)

      Across these organisations, the union has 2,062 members.

      But only 1,001 voted in favour of striking – 48.5 per cent.

      The union achieved its slender 55 per cent majority for strike action because 12 per cent of members failed to vote.

      Daily Mail,

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