Humberside

Talks over North Lincolnshire tanker drivers' strike

Union leaders are in talks with a haulage firm in a bid to resolve a dispute involving more than 80 fuel tanker drivers.

The drivers at the ConocoPhillips oil refinery at South Killingholme in North Lincolnshire are holding a week-long strike.

Unite claim haulage firm Wincanton is trying to reduce the drivers' pay by as much as 20%.

But Wincanton denied the claim calling the action "wholly unnecessary".

Similar action has been taking place at depots in Kingsbury in Warwickshire and at Stockton-on-Tees.

'Best rewarded'

Before the announcement of Friday's talks, Unite said it had given Wincanton notice of a further seven days of strike action, beginning on 2 February.

When the industrial action started on Tuesday, Nick Dennis from Unite said Wincanton wanted to "annihilate" the pay and conditions of drivers.

"Seven months ago the company approached us and asked us to enter into talks into a clear cost-down agenda on our terms and conditions, to enable them to keep their contract with ConocoPhillips," he said.

"What we want is job security going forward. We don't want extra pay. We are willing to negotiate anytime, anywhere."

But in a statement Wincanton said it did "not understand why this strike is happening", and claimed their drivers were "among the best rewarded in the UK".

The company said: "There was never any question that Wincanton would implement new terms and conditions without mutual agreement.

"These discussions were derailed by Unite, who forced a ballot for industrial action."

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