Safety group dismisses tanker strike threat complaint

A road safety group has dismissed the safety concerns of the union Unite as reason for strike action, while others in the industry claim they are “nonsense”. The union Unite […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A road safety group has dismissed the safety concerns of the union Unite as reason for strike action, while others in the industry claim they are “nonsense”.

The union Unite today asked its members whether they want to take industrial action in protest over employers “slashing drivers’ terms and conditions and cutting corners on training and safety in a bid to win contracts.”Five out of seven firms who are members of the union voted in favour of the strike.

But the union’s safety concerns were strongly disputed by Road Safe, a campaign group for road safety which works with motor and transport firms in Britain and is a ‘partner’ of the Department for Transport.

A spokesperson for Road Safe told ELN: “I’d be very interested to see the evidence of that. We’ve seen none. Tanker drivers are the best paid, best trained and looked after by their companies without doubt. I don’t see there’s asafety issue.”

The views were echoed by Suckling Transport, one of two firms whose members voted against the strike action.

Peter Larner, Managing Director of Sucking Transport said the safety issue raised by the union was “nonsense” for his firm, which last year won an international award for road safety.

He told ELN his employees had been “surprised” when Unite balloted them about strike action over their terms and conditions, because they had only just agreed with the union about these for 2012.

His firm is a small SME in a sector dominated by large distributors, he said, employing 126 drivers. Only 10 of these voted in favour of the strike.

Mr Larner said: “It’s a positive message to the union that we’re not interested in this dispute.”