In the search for petrol peace the two parties have only a narrow window before the union must decide its next move or lose its mandate
Proposals aimed at resolving the fuel tanker drivers dispute were drawn up tonight, raising hopes that strikes can be averted.
The deadline extension suggests talks are going well, but the deadline of next Friday to reach a deal is still very tight.
Talks aimed at resolving a dispute involving fuel tanker drivers will resume on April 23 in a bid to avert strikes.
Leaders of the Unite union will meet officials from six distribution companies under the chairmanship of the conciliation service Acas.
Unite has been given an extension to April 24 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 last week despite progress being made on some of the issues involved in the row.
Members of the union Unite are due to vote on whether to accept proposals aimed at stopping a strike by fuel tanker drivers. They were drawn up during six days of negotiations at the conciliation service Acas.
The talks ended last Friday but neither the employers nor the Unite union have released any details of the discussions before today's meeting.
Unite have said they are satisfied that they have a set a proposals to bring to their members.
The 'deal' does not mean that the threat of strike action has been lifted; the terms of the confidential proposal still need to be accepted by the tanker drivers.
An Energy and Climate Change Department spokesman said:
The Government welcome the news that Unite plan to put a deal to their members.
We hope that this will lead to the threat of strike action being lifted.
The Government continues to believe that any strike action is wrong and unnecessary.
We will continue to work on contingency plans to increase the country's resilience in the event of a strike.
Acas chief conciliator Peter Harwood announced that an agreement for a set of proposals to avert a strike by fuel tanker drivers has been reached.
Acas Chief Conciliator Peter Harwood said a proposal for a deal has been reached between Unite the union and representatives from fuel companies.
Over the past fortnight the six contractors have met with the Unite trade union through the Acas conciliation service. Acas has been shuttling between the parties and the process has been a challenging one but we are pleased to announce that a set of proposals have been reached.
– Peter Harwood, Acas Chief Conciliator
As you would expect the details of the proposals are confidential until the parties report back to their respective organisations. After that the details may be disclosed by the parties themselves.
The extension to the ballot period was agreed to enable those consultations to take place. Acas is pleased at this development and hope that the matter will soon be settled."
The contents of the final set of proposals agreed between Acas, Unite the union and representatives from fuel companies will remain confidential.
Unite has said the document will go to the union representatives and their delegates for discussion.
Unite the union says: "Now we're in a position where we have a document which we can take back to our delegates and reps to discuss."