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Posted on 5 February 2012 at 14:12 GMT

Striking oil tanker drivers demand meaningful talks

123 oil tanker drivers, employed by haulage firm Wincanton on the ConocoPhillips contract to deliver fuel to Jet forecourts, began their second week of strike action on Friday 3rd February.

They are taking action to try to force their employers to give them assurances about their future employment.

This is because Wincanton's current five year contract ends in June so now they are on a rolling six month contract which means they could be given notice at any time.

Having just seen ConocoPhillips give their office staff at the Immingham refinery depot 90 days notice, the drivers are understandably worried about their futures.

The drivers, all Unite members, are rightly proud of the professional standards they achieve in a potentially dangerous industry.

They are worried that the 'race to the bottom' that the bosses are wanting to implement will not only throw them out of work or cut their hard won terms and conditions, but lead to a reduction in heath and safety, cover-ups and ultimately a disaster.

One driver told me that he thought Conoco wanted to get out of delivery altogether and say to dealers: "Here's a field with oil in it, come and get your own supplies".

In a tactical move, the drivers suspended their strike on Saturday morning, calling on Wincanton and ConocoPhillips to enter meaningful talks.

However, if these are not forthcoming, then notice has already been served of another seven days strike action starting on Thursday 9th February.

Alistair Tice

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 5 February 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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