Strike over threatened contracts for more than 100 Wincanton drivers could hit fuel depots such as Immingham in South Humberside


Unite is balloting more than 100 oil tanker members at the road haulage firm Wincanton working on the contract for oil giant, ConocoPhillips, delivering fuel to Jet forecourts around the UK.

The ballot opens on Friday (23 December) and will close on Wednesday 11 January 2012.

Unite says Wincanton has refused to withdraw proposed new contracts which will place the workforce on substantially reduced terms and conditions, including a huge cut in pay of around 20 per cent.

A “Yes” vote would affect depots at Immingham in South Humberside, Kingsbury in Warwickshire and Stockton-on-Tees in the North East.

According to the union, the Wincanton dispute is symptomatic of the wider problems in the petrol industry which is becoming increasingly unstable as global firms such as ConocoPhillips force down contract costs to the detriment of the drivers who report increasingly stressful working conditions in an already dangerous job.

Unite says the employers’ consistent refusal to engage in meaningful negotiations means that strike action is inevitable.

Matt Draper, Unite national officer said: “Wincanton is holding a gun to our members’ heads with the threat of sign the new contracts or lose their jobs.

“We have negotiated in good faith but Wincanton is bringing us closer and closer to causualisation of this industry.  In a sector which generates billions in profit, it is shameful that the workforce is denied its fair share.  Further, the instability these attacks are causing this sector is absolutely against the national interest.

“We now have no option but to ballot for industrial action to protect the terms and conditions that have been negotiated over many years. The union remains ready to talk to resolve this dispute but will not stand by and let Wincanton bully our members.”

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