Unite the union logoBritain’s largest union, Unite announced today (Tuesday, 8 May) that oil tanker drivers working for distribution firm Hoyer have backed industrial action short of a strike, as concerns continue over deteriorating standards in the oil distribution sector.

57.5% of members on a turnout of 79.5% voted for action short of strike in the re-ballot which was called following a technical error in the original vote.

In the ballot of over 500 drivers a significant minority also voted for strike action (39.2%), demonstrating continuing unease over the growing uncertainty and instability in the industry.

Hoyer, who deliver petrol for Shell, is one of six companies involved in an ongoing dispute over industry minimum standards which recently saw eight days of talks with the union through Acas.

Members are currently voting in a consultative ballot on the proposals tabled following the Acas talks with a recommendation to reject. While progress had been made in the talks on health, safety and training, representatives at last month’s (26 April) special oil trades conference recommended rejection. The recommendation followed the employers’ failure to give sufficient guarantees on maintaining standards, security of employment, pensions and sub-contracting.

The result of the consultative ballot involving tankers drivers working for, Wincanton, DHL, Hoyer, BP, Norbert Dentressangle, Turners and Suckling is due to be announced this Friday (11 May). On the same day, the union is also expected to announce the next steps in its campaign to bring stability and security to the industry through the introduction of minimum standards.

Commenting, Unite assistant general secretary, Diana Holland, said: “The vote in favour of action short of a strike demonstrates that deep concerns still remain in an increasingly insecure and unstable industry. Tanker drivers face a daily race to the bottom where contracts are chopped and changed. It is in everyone’s interest to bring order to the chaos gripping a vital industry through the introduction of industry wide minimum standards.

“Members are currently taking part in a consultative ballot over proposals tabled through Acas. We will be announcing the result on Friday along with the next steps of our campaign to bring stability to the industry through the introduction of minimum standards.”