Some 640 tanker drivers in the Unite union are set to go on strike for four days from Friday of this week in support of a 13.2 percent pay demand.
The drivers work for two companies, Hoyer UK and Suckling Transport, that are sole suppliers to around 900 Shell petrol stations dotted across the country.
Government ministers fear the action could lead to fuel shortages. A strike by workers at the Grangemouth oil refinery earlier this year led to panic buying of petrol across much of Scotland and northern England.
“It is time Shell intervened directly and stopped leaving this problem in the hands of its contractor,” said Ron Webb, a Unite national officer.
“Shell makes over £1 billion a month in profits and there is no excuse for allowing tanker drivers to be paid no more than they were getting 15 years ago.
“Since being contracted out to Hoyer they have seen their pay cut which has led to a worsening of their pension provision.”
Union representatives were set to meet Hoyer officials for talks at the Acas conciliation service this week