Friday, June 13, 2008

Fuel tanker strike starts in UK

A picket at Shell Haven in Essex

Motorists face a difficult week after tanker drivers transporting fuel for Shell walked out in a dispute over pay. Tanker drivers had threatened industrial action earlier this week and demanded a 13% pay rise which would take their current average wage from £32,000 to nearly £39,000 per annum. But talks between management at Hoyer UK, the tanker firm, and the unions failed resulting in a four day stoppage. While only 600 tanker drivers have walked out and only 1 in 10 petrol stations would be directly affected there have already been signs of panic buying by motorists. Shell stations are already seeing the effects as some pumps run dry. At some distribution centres pickets have successfully dissuaded other tanker drivers from picking up fuel. And to compound things further there is talk of a repeat of strike action next Friday if the drivers’ demands are not met. Suggestions that the tanker drivers are greedy in asking for such a large pay increase are dismissed by the drivers themselves who say they do a dangerous job. The strike is set to end on Tuesday morning [BBC / Sky News].

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