What chance is there of agreement in petrol peace talks?

Talks between Union and haulage bosses have begun today. Photo: Reuters

What it is hoped will be petrol peace talks are now underway. There will be no blow by blow account of what happens at the ACAS tower in Euston...Though I'm told that today the seven fuel haulage firms will be in in one room - the union in another.

The ACAS mediators will be moving between the two. It seems to me all but inevitable that agreement will be reached on the main safety and training issues. That could lead to a new national forum to establish agreed standards. Indications I've had from the Government suggest that assistance from the Health and Safety Executive would be available for that process.

It is hoped the talks will help to avert a strike by fuel tanker drivers. Credit: Reuters

There would remain the sticking point of pay. Although the union says this is not about earnings - employers remain suspicious that standard training and safety levels would somehow lead to a standard nationally agreed pay scale. That, the employers are against - that remains the rubbing point.

What impact is all this still having on the forecourts? The national average petrol price today is 141.7p - though many outlets have already gone above the 150 a litre mark. In some areas the petrol panic has caused continuing shortages - and there is evidence that has put upward pressure on prices. Today we filmed at one petrol outlet where the price is 172.9 - luckily that is an extreme. Yesterday for the third day in a row petrol sales were down on the norm - this time by 28.5%.

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