Published on 10 Apr 2012 Sections

Fuel tanker dispute: more talks take place

More talks aimed at preventing a strike by fuel tanker drivers will resume later after “constructive” discussions were held before Easter.

Members of the public buy fuel at a petrol station on March 29, 2012 in Linlithgow, Scotland (Getty)

Fuel forecourts across the country ran dry before Easter amid concerns of a strike by tanker drivers.

Leaders of the Unite union spent two days last week meeting officials from distribution firms to try to resolve a dispute over terms and conditions and health and safety.

Acas chief conciliator Peter Harwood said as the talks were adjourned: “The discussions have been constructive, with the parties positively engaged and committed to the process. We are pleased that they have agreed to continue their discussions with Acas.

“Of course, everyone will be respecting the confidentiality of the process. Therefore, no further comment will be made by any of the parties involved.”

The dispute over terms and conditions and health and safety has been brewing for more than a year but flared up last month when Unite announced that workers in five firms had voted to strike.

Channel 4 News FactCheck: Do tanker drivers earn £45k?

The government advised motorists to top up with fuel, leading to chaotic scenes at garages across the country as people queued for petrol.

Ministers later changed their advice saying there was no need to queue at forecourts.

There was much criticism of the way the government handled the prospect of a strike and Labour led calls for the resignation of Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude for advising motorists earlier to store jerry cans of fuel in their garages.

Unite has previously announced it would not strike over Easter following the panic-buying which led to long queues at garages.

The government was criticised for urging motorists to fill up their cars with petrol even though no strikes had been called.

The union will have to give seven days’ notice of any industrial action.