A second day of talks designed to prevent a strike by more than 2,000 drivers resumed at 9am at an undisclosed London location.
The meetings involve Unite negotiators and seven distribution companies – Wincanton, DHL, BP, Hoyer, J W Suckling, Norbert Dentressangle and Turners – which supply around 90% of the UK’s petrol stations.
Acas Chief Conciliator Peter Harwood said: “Talks adjourned at 1am. Talks will reconvene at 9am today.”
There has been no further information from either side in the dispute. However, Acas sources say no face-to-face meetings have taken place at the undisclosed location in London where the talks are taking place.
It is understood Acas officials have been shuttling between the two delegations, which have so far remained in separate rooms.
The dispute over terms and conditions and health and safety has been brewing for more than a year but flared up last week when Unite announced that workers in five of the firms had voted to strike.
Coalition ministers advised motorists to top up with fuel, leading to chaotic scenes at garages across the country as people queued for petrol.
Unite announced on Friday it would not be striking over Easter as it engaged with Acas over the peace moves, and would have to give seven days notice of any industrial action.
The union has until later this month before it is legally required to ‘activate’ the ballot by calling some form of industrial action. Otherwise it would have to call a second national vote on the issues.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “For nearly two years, we have been trying to persuade the fuel distribution sector to work with us to defend best practice across the industry.
“It is vital that common, minimum standards on safety, training, wages and pensions are agreed to put a floor of best practice in the sector.”
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