Thousands of tanker drivers are to be balloted for industrial action in a row over pay, pensions and working conditions, it was announced today.
Unite warned employers that voting was likely to start next month unless the "constant attack" on drivers terms and conditions stopped.
The union claimed that over the past few years, contractors responsible for the delivery of oil and petrol supplies to petrol stations and supermarkets across the UK had "squeezed" the pay and conditions of around 3,000 drivers.
Unite said it was calling for national standards to stop a "race to the bottom" on pay and conditions and claimed that employers had refused to hold talks over the row.
Len McCluskey, Unite's new leader, said: "Tanker drivers play a crucial role in the economy, delivering fuel safely and on time, but their industry, which is worth billions, is content to attack the drivers' pay, pensions and conditions.
"The price of oil is heading for 100 dollars a barrel, so this is not an industry suffering like many others because the profits are astronomical. Employers have their heads in the sand if they think they can continue to attack these drivers' terms and conditions.
"This is not about pay. Our demands are very reasonable. We are calling for national standards to bring stability to the industry. It would benefit our members but it would also benefit the multitude of contractors in the industry too.
"Time and workers' patience is running out, so we appeal to the key stakeholders to engage with Unite urgently to find a better way forward.
"Minimum standards on safety and decent terms and conditions are a prerequisite for success in this sector. The attacks on workers' pensions must cease and the merry-go-round where drivers can have as many as 12 different employers must stop too.
"Quite simply, enough is enough."Reuse content