Tanker drivers vote to strike

Tanker drivers working for five major fuel distribution firms and members of Unite, have voted overwhelmingly for strike action over health and safety issues. Up until a few years ago the major fuel companies tended to have their own distribution fleet, with their own drivers.

Thanks to good trade union organisation, safety and training standards were upheld and drivers had reasonably secure employment. But when the oil companies were looking to increase their already mega-profits, they discovered the benefits of outsourcing.

Experienced drivers left, to be replaced by contractors. And the contracting companies started looking for ways to cut corners to save money, at the expense of the drivers’ working conditions and pensions. Now those workers are fighting back, with large majorities for strike action (see below).

Across the seven companies 61.1% voted for strike action.

The government is not looking forward to the sight of queues at petrol stations, so is allegedly training troops to scab on any strikes. Unite must take any attempts to train up a scab army seriously and make the necessary preparations.

But the government’s fear of these workers’ action says everything about the potential power of united strike action against their austerity plans.

Turners: 94.4% in favour of strike, 81.8% turnout

Norbert Dentressangle: 74.8% in favour of strike, 71.3% turnout

Wincanton: 68.4% in favour of strike, 71.9% turnout

BP: 60.2% in favour of strike, 85.8% turnout

Hoyer: 59.7% in favour of strike, 79.7% turnout

Workers in DHL narrowly voted against strike action but voted in favour of action short of a strike, while Unite members in Suckling voted against strike action.

National Shop Stewards Network

6th annual conference:

Saturday 9 June 11am – 4pm

Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

Speakers include:

  • Bob Crow, transport union RMT general secretary
  • Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary
  • A leading Rank and File construction electrician
  • Kevin Courtney, NUT deputy general secretary

Conference fee: £5

For more information see: www.shopstewards.net

Contact the NSSN at: [email protected] or PO Box 54498, London, E10 9DE