Tanker driver strike to hit fuel supplies

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The Independent Online

Petrol tanker drivers threatened to disrupt supplies at hundreds of Jet service stations yesterday after voting for a 24-hour strike over pay and conditions. About 130 drivers for the American oil company Conoco, which owns the Jet brand, will walk out next Tuesday in a dispute over plans to contract out their work.

The Transport and General Workers' Union said it expected "intense disruption" at many of the 550 Jet forecourts unless the company produced new proposals. But Conoco, which called the action "extremely disappointing", insisted it had contingency plans to minimise disruption.

Both sides said the dispute would not spread to other retailers and cause a repeat of last year's fuel blockades. Union officials said the strike had been ordered after members at five of Conoco's eight main distribution depots last week voted 93 per cent in favour of it. The strike, from 4am on 21 August to 6am the next day, has been called over benefits paid to tanker drivers on top of their salary. The union wants guarantees that pensions, profit-related pay and a share option scheme will be underwritten by Conoco, Britain's sixth-largest fuel retailer, when staff move to a new distribution company.

The union estimates the value of the benefits is about £4,000 a year to each worker.