Fuel tanker drivers threaten action over job cuts

Thousands of fuel tanker drivers could take industrial action later this year unless job losses and pay cuts in the sector are halted, a union has warned.

Unite has written to oil companies and supermarket chains that sell fuel claiming its members are being "forced" towards conflict.

The union has accused employers of ignoring its warnings on the issue.

It claims morale among its 3,000 members in the sector has plummeted.

Unite blames the increasing use of alternative contractors in the sector - which it claims are willing to "undercut" other employers - for forcing down wages and undermining conditions of employment.

Unite spokesman Ron Webb said the union had cautioned oil employers that "attacking wages and squeezing more and more out of their drivers but giving them less and less" would backfire.

"We are at a very dangerous moment for this sector. In my 15 years as a negotiator for this sector I have never witnessed such low morale among the drivers," he said.

Mr Webb said tanker drivers were highly specialist workers who were vital to the UK economy.

He said the drivers were employed by some of the most "profitable companies in the land," and that all they wanted was a wage "which reflects their hard work and professionalism".

The union has called a special summit to decide what action to take over the issue.

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