Fresh talks aimed at averting strikes by fuel tanker drivers are to be held on Monday, raising hopes that industrial action can be averted.
The union Unite has been given an extension to next Tuesday before it has to make a decision about calling industrial action.
We are extremely disappointed that Unite has failed to persuade its membership to accept the proposals agreed with the employers after six days of constructive discussions. Wincanton is committed to finding a resolution to this dispute, and along with the other employers, we have agreed to further talks with Unite facilitated by Acas on Monday 23rd April for a maximum of two days. We have also offered Unite an extension to the validity of the ballot period until 17.00 on Tuesday 24th April...
– Wincanton spokesperson, one of the employers affected by potential strikes
...Unite’s concerns over the erosion of standards, security of employment and the newly raised issue of sub-contracting should be directed to the non-regulated players in the industry rather than the employers that Unite already concurs have the best terms and conditions for their drivers, and exemplary health, safety and training standards. Wincanton’s drivers have an average income of around £45,000 per annum.
– A spokesperson from haulage firm Wincanton
We are extremely disappointed that Unite has failed to persuade its membership to accept the proposals agreed with the employers after six days of constructive discussions. Wincanton is committed to finding a resolution to this dispute, and along with the other employers, we have agreed to further talks with Unite facilitated by Acas on Monday 23rd April for a maximum of two days. We have also offered Unite an extension to the validity of the ballot period until 17.00 on Tuesday 24th April.
– Hoyer spokesperson
While we welcome this move, it had always been clear to Hoyer that there had been serious irregularities in the original ballot relating to a significant number of our drivers not served with voting papers.
The company had advised Unite the Union on 3rd April 2012 that it was in a position to take legal action and was quite prepared to go to court to seek an injunction should Unite indicate that it was ready to call a strike.
Hoyer now feels that there should be a re-ballot of the workforce across the whole sector, based on these proposals and in the interests of democracy.
– BP spokesperson
The employers have agreed to this extension and to reconvene at Acas on Monday for two days of further talks.
To ensure this time is most productively spent, the employers asked Unite to clarify what they believe the remaining areas of difference are between last Friday’s agreement and a dispute settlement.
The new talks will involve Hoyer, even though Unite is to re-ballot its members at the firm after the union discovered that a number of its members had not received ballot papers during the original voting last month.
– Acas chief conciliator Peter Harwood
The employers and Unite have agreed to an extension of the validity of the ballot period for a further four days until Tuesday, to enable these talks to take place.
The conciliation service Acas announced that leaders of the Unite union and officials from six distribution companies will meet on Monday.
Unite has also been given an extension to next Tuesday before it has to make a decision about calling industrial action.
The two sides have already held six days of talks but tanker drivers' representatives overwhelmingly turned down a proposed agreement yesterday despite progress being made on some of the issues involved in the row.
– Diana Holland, Unite assistant general secretary
We remain committed to reaching a negotiated settlement with Hoyer and the other employers that brings stability and security to the supply of a vital commodity
It has come to our attention that a number of people did not receive ballot papers. This is a concern because we believe that everyone should have a say. We will be seeking a fresh mandate from our members in Hoyer who like all tanker drivers face a race to the bottom in an increasingly fragmented industry.
Fresh talks aimed at averting strikes by fuel tanker drivers are to be held on Monday, Acas said.
– Unite statement
Following an investigation it has become apparent that a handful of people didn't receive ballot papers.
We could fight a legal challenge from the company (Hoyer) but we believe it is important that everybody has a say which is why we are re-balloting.
Our legal team are drawing up the notice for the re-ballot and confirming the ballot timetable and we anticipate the ballot will take place quickly over the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime we remain committed to finding a negotiated outcome.