Fuel Shortage Looms as Tanker Drivers go on a Collision Course

Motorhome enthusiasts may well have more to worry about than motorhome insurance costs soon as they may be facing a fuel shortage in the coming months, as irate tanker drivers vote for strike action.

In what could well be a re-run of the fuel blockade in September 2000, tanker drivers belonging to the Unite trade union voted for strike action yesterday if their demands are not met. 2000 drivers who supply fuel to 90% of the garages in the UK via distribution companies, Wincanton, DHL, Hoyer, Turners, Norbert Dentressangle and JW Suckling, were involved in the ballot with 5 of the 7 groups overwhelmingly voting for strike action if necessary. In September 2000 the country came to a virtual standstill as garages ran out of petrol and commuters had to stay at home after truckers and agricultural workers blockaded oil refineries in protest at the price of fuel.

The strike decision enraged the companies involved with a spokesman for Hoyer saying: “We are dismayed at the outcome of the Unite ballot for industrial action involving 650 drivers on our fuel contracts. Particularly as only 215 drivers out of the 650 voted for strike action we therefore believe that this action is being driven by a small disaffected group of employees. In our history of delivering petroleum products for large oil companies, Hoyer has not had a major accident or serious injury to a member of our team. Pay and conditions for Hoyer drivers are among the best in the industry. Our drivers earn on average £45,000 a year. They are well rewarded because they are professionals, highly trained and skilled in the work that they carry out, particularly with regard to health and safety.”

The spokesman was referring to the union’s assertion that the strike would not be about pay but about health and safety conditions. Whatever the arguments are the Government are treating the dispute very seriously and have already started teaching soldiers to drive the tankers if the dispute goes ahead.