Tanker drivers in the Unite union rejected an offer from six oil distribution firms today (Wednesday). Unite is now seeking further talks through the Acas conciliation service.
Over 1,200 drivers across five companies could strike, after they voted for action last month.
The drivers want a national agreement on minimum standards in the industry. This comes after years of attacks on standards, safety, pensions, pay, conditions and job stability.
Today around 60 workers’ representatives from across the industry voted to reject the employers’ first offer.
Diana Holland, assistant general secretary of Unite, said, “While some progress has been made, the overwhelming feeling is that these proposals do not go far enough.”
She added, “For too long, operators have presided over the erosion of standards. That is not sustainable.”
Under the Tories’ anti-union laws, Unite has until Friday of this week to call strikes unless companies agree on an extension to their ballot.
But the longer they wait the more time the government has to prepare for strikes—by training scab drivers and stockpiling oil.
Tanker drivers have the power to shut down Britain’s road network within days. If they call strikes, they can force the oil companies and haulage contractors to reverse their attacks.