Fears of UK trucks strike activates emergency oil plans

Emergency procedures have been activated within the oil industry ahead of a threatened four-day strike by tanker drivers, amid fears that filling stations across Britain could start running out of fuel from this ­weekend (13th June).

Submitted by Ed on June 10, 2008

John Hutton, business secretary, fears the strike could prompt much more widespread fuel shortages than those caused by the strike at the Grangemouth oil refinery in April, and has ordered officials to draw up contingency plans. Industry executives believe these fears are well founded.

About 500 tanker drivers employed by haulage companies Hoyer UK and Suckling Transport are threatening to strike for four days from Friday after their claim for a 13 per cent pay rise was rejected. The two companies are sole suppliers to almost 1,000 Shell forecourts, which are concentrated in the south-east, the north-west, central Scotland and parts of the Midlands.

But Mr Hutton said that the striking drivers could picket distribution depots used by other companies, leading to wider disruption.

The haulage companies claim to have offered to raise drivers’ annual average salaries, currently £36,000, by 6.5%. The union, Unite, however, blames Shell for putting pressure on hauliers to keep wages down explaining that the average salary of £36,000 is only possible with truckers working a lot of overtime.