The threat of a fuel tanker strike has finally run out of gas after union drivers narrowly voted to accept proposals tabled after eight days of talks with strike mediator Acas.
Last month the threat of strikes caused a wave of petrol panic-buying after a Government minister mistakenly advised people to stock up by keeping a “jerry can” of petrol in their garage.
Today members of the Unite union voted by 51% – on a turnout of 69% – to accept the proposals which include introducing an industry-wide accreditation, or ‘passport’ covering health safety and training.
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “The progress made through negotiation is testament to the brave stance members have taken in the face of growing insecurity and attacks on their profession.”
She warned the fuel companies not to become complacent after the overall ‘yes’ vote: “The narrow vote in favour should be a ‘wake-up’ call for an industry riddled with deep seated problems. This is why we are writing to the Energy and Climate Change select committee urging them to investigate the instability in the industry.”
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said avoiding strike action was the “right result” for the economy.
He said: “A strike would have been disruptive to the hardworking lives of millions of motorists around the country and put unnecessary pressures on our essential and emergency services.”
Around 1,400 military drivers had been trained to take over deliveries to fuel depots, he added, claiming the Government would have been prepared in the event of a strike.