New fuel crisis in the pipeline as tanker drivers reject deal
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 19 April 2012
The prospect of petrol shortages re-emerged last night after tanker drivers rejected a proposed deal offered by six fuel-distribution companies.
About 60 officials from the Unite union overwhelmingly turned down an agreement drawn up after six days of talks that ended amid optimistic signs last Friday.
But the union also urged motorists not to panic-buy and said it had not yet decided whether to name any strike dates.
The AA advised drivers to continue with their normal pattern for buying fuel, saying that talks were likely to resume. "There is no shortage of fuel and we don't want to recreate another self-inflicted shortage," said Edmund King, the AA president.
It is understood that progress was made on a number of issues including pensions, health and safety and training. Diana Holland, Unite's assistant general secretary, said: "While there has been some progress it is clear that our members need more guarantees and assurances from the employers about their commitment to meaningful minimum standards."
Unite officials contacted the conciliation service Acas and said it hoped employers would agree to hold fresh talks in the coming days. The union will have to name strike dates, or other forms of industrial action, by tomorrow afternoon unless employers agree to extend the deadline.
A spokesman for Hoyer, one of the firms involved, described Unite's decision as "a serious blow" and said the employers remained "open to negotiation".
Peter Harwood, chief conciliator at Acas, said: "Naturally, we are disappointed at today's outcome, following the parties' intensive talks."
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
Bali Nine executions live: Indonesian firing squad shoots dead eight drug offenders despite outcry around world, but a ninth is spared
Keith Harris dead: Orville the Duck ventriloquist dies aged 67 following battle with cancer
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...
£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...
£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...