Tanker drivers vote to strike
Petrol tank drivers have voted in favour of strike action, prompting the Army to take up tanker driving duties.
Energy Minister Ed Davey said the results were “disappointing” and warned of the disruption to economic recovery that would be caused if strikes went ahead.
2000 members of the Unite union were protesting over safety conditions and efficiency of the distribution system.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “This vote should disappoint us all. Disruption is in nobody’s interest at this critical moment in the recovery.
“Our roads are vital for the health of our economy, delivering 83 per cent of all goods in the UK, and 70 per cent of employees to work.
“Drivers have voted for a strike, but each employer and Unite should now get back around the table to discuss the issues raised.
Going ahead with strike action would have a real impact on people across the country.“
Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “This is bad news for British business – a tanker drivers’ strike threatens to clog the arteries of the economy.
“The vast majority of travel in Britain takes place on the roads. If the fuel runs out, firms will not be able to transport goods, staff will not be able to get to work and it will cause chaos.
“All businesses, not just those the drivers are protesting against, will be hugely disappointed if the unions press ahead with strike action.”
Mr Davey said: “With the London 2012 Olympics approaching, it is unacceptable and selfish to behave in this manner and jeopardise our international reputation.
“Unite has committed to ensuring that essential services are not disrupted. We trust it will live up to this commitment and not put anyone in harm’s way.
“The Government stands ready to take whatever action we can to minimise the impact of any strike. If we have to, we will use emergency powers to make sure supplies for emergency services are prioritised and we will work to ensure trained military personnel are available to drive oil tankers.
“The Police will be on hand to ensure that strike action does not intimidate or prevent drivers that wish to work from doing so.
“While their main concerns are pay and conditions, which are matters for their employers, they have also raised health and safety. We take health and safety very seriously and will be looking carefully at what Unite is saying.
“Ensuring people are safe at work is a priority for us and we are committed to resolving any issues around this.
“But we are clear - first and foremost - the parties must get back around the table. There is no justification for this. It’s the wrong action at the wrong time.”
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .
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