Fuel tanker drivers vote for strike action over redundancy plans

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Fuel tanker drivers employed by Hoyer Petrolog UK, based at the Stanlow oil refinery in Cheshire, have overwhelmingly voted for strike action in a dispute over job cuts.

The workers, who are members of trade union Unite, recorded an overwhelming 96.2% vote in favour of industrial action.

After the yes vote was secured, Unite gave Hoyer a final opportunity to withdraw its redundancy proposals, but said when it refused to do so the union had no option but to announce strike dates.

Unite has announced a total of 14 days of one-day strike action throughout next month.

It says the strikes will cause considerable disruption to fuel supplies for road users and the aviation sector in Northern England, affecting, in particular, customers including Shell, Esso, BP, Essar, World Fuel Services (WFS), Motor Fuel Group (MFG), Rontec, Euro Garages, Greenenergy and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Hoyer is proposing to make six of the 28 drivers employed on the contract redundant.

Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said: “Unite’s members have delivered a stunning mandate in favour of industrial action.

“Despite Unite giving Hoyer every opportunity to resolve this dispute through negotiations, it has refused to do so and as a consequence and as a last resort Unite has announced strike dates.

“Our members regret that their action will cause considerable disruption to fuel deliveries, but believe they have no other option in order to save their jobs.

“Fuel tanker drivers are frontline workers and throughout this pandemic their work has ensured that other frontline workers can continue to go to work. They deserve to be treated better than this.

“The ball is now firmly in Hoyer’s court. It can still avoid strike action occurring by withdrawing the threat of job cuts.”

In response, a Hoyer spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have received notification of industrial action at our parking location in Cheshire which will result in a small number of our fuel tankers not operating on the nominated days.

“However, we will be implementing detailed contingency plans to ensure any action has a negligible impact on our operations.

“We remain committed to engaging with the union representatives regarding any meaningful and realistic proposals that can be put forward in order to mitigate the redundancies.

“However, the challenge remains that these jobs rely directly on people returning to driving their cars and flying in planes at ‘normal’ levels – things which are simply beyond our control”.