Petrol station fuel disruption likely as Cheshire tanker drivers set to strike

Fuel tanker drivers are to stage a series of strikes after voting overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a dispute over jobs. Members of Unite, employed by Hoyer Petrolog, based at the Stanlow oil refinery, backed action by 96%. The union said it had given Hoyer a final opportunity to withdraw redundancy proposals but now had “no option” other than to announce strike dates.

Unite announced a total of 14 days of strike action on November 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 20, 23, 25 and 27. All of the strikes will begin at 0001 and end at 2359. The union said the action will cause considerable disruption to fuel supplies for road users and the aviation sector in northern England.

Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said: “Unite’s members have delivered a stunning mandate in favour of industrial action.

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“Despite Unite giving Hoyer every opportunity to resolve this dispute through negotiations, it has refused to do so and, as a consequence and as a last resort, Unite has announced strike dates.”

A Hoyer tanker

Hoyer is proposing to make six of the 28 drivers employed on the contract redundant, despite the workers having worked throughout the pandemic. The company is increasingly using agency drivers to fulfil its delivery requirements. Earlier this month, Hoyer said it has “some of the best drivers in the industry” who are critical to its services, but said the decision to make redundancies was a result of the “dramatic reduction” in retail and aviation fuel volumes since the lockdown began in March.

During Covid-19, the company’s aviation volumes dropped to just 5% of normal levels, more recently settling at around 40%.

The firm said that further tightening of lockdown restrictions will “in no way improve these current volumes” – whilst it is clear “we will not return to ‘normal’ for at least the next 12 months, if at all”.

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