More than 120 Unite drivers are taking 7 days of action expected to hit fuel supplies to more than 380 Jet petrol stations
More than 120 fuel haulage drivers are in their second day of a week-long campaign of industrial action to try to prevent cuts worth around 20% of their income.
Vast fuel depots operated by ConocoPhillips were at a standstill on Tuesday as Unite members mounted pickets at three sites: Immingham (above) in North Lincolnshire, Stockton-on-Tees and Kingsbury in Staffordshire.
The strike follows a 83% vote in favour of action by drivers across the heavily-unionised workforce.
Chair of the National Negotiating Committee, Nick Dennis (below) told UnionNews: “It’s an incredible result in this day and age. But that’s the strength of feeling on this contract. We want to enter negotiations with ConocoPhillips and Wincanton to resolve this issue.”
Unite says 12 Texaco trucks run by Wincanton refused to cross the picket line at Kingsbury and as many as four more other trucks turned back. At Immingham, no truck crossed the picket line with at least seven turning around rather than enter the site.
Unite says ConocoPhillips’ pre-tax profits soared by more than £0.5 bn last year – a 37% increase – and that directors’ remuneration has increased by £500,000 – 41.7 per cent.
The Union is seeking talks with the oil company and the drivers’ employer, Wincanton, to try to secure commitments that their incomes and other conditions will be secure if new contracts are drawn up. Negotiators fear both companies are exploiting current market conditions to drive costs down.
“This strike’s about job security,” according to Unite National Officer Matt Draper.
Speaking to UnionNews at the Immingham picket, he said: “We will not give an employer carte blanche to pick and choose our terms and conditions. For instance, the redundancy terms for these drivers are amongst the best in the industry – they would be wiped out if Wincanton goes ahead with these proposals.
“The mood of the drivers is upbeat. Their spirits will not be broken. We want Wincanton to re-engage with us, with Conoco’s blessing, to get back round the table to talk.”
Unite estimates that the seven-day strike could disrupt fuel supplies to more than 380 forecourts operated by Jet across the UK.
National Officer Matt Draper (below, left) and Unite members picket ConocoPhillips site in Lincolnshire.
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