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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Fuel shortage threat for Cumbria moves a step closer

The threat of petrol shortages across Cumbria moved a step closer yesterday after tanker drivers voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike.

Around 2,000 members of the Unite union at seven tanker firms were balloted, with drivers at five firms backing walkouts.

The companies deliver fuel to Shell and Esso garages as well as supermarkets including Tesco and Asda.

Unite drivers supply fuel to 90 per cent of the UK’s forecourts and the union said a strike could close thousands of petrol stations.

However, smaller independent filling stations are not expected to be affected as they tend to use locally-owned hauliers not involved in yesterday’s ballot.

The Dalston fuel depot should not be too badly affected as its petrol is delivered by rail.

Chris Toole, owner of the independent James Street petrol station in Carlisle, said: “I don’t expect to be affected. It will be Shell, Esso and BP garages that will be worst affected.

“I use smaller, local hauliers like WCF and Wallace Oils who employ self-employed drivers who weren’t included in the ballot. There may be shortages of supply though because I expect the bigger companies will want to draft in extra drivers to cover those on strike.”

The Government said it had plans in place to deal with a strike.

One of the firms affected – Hoyer – revealed it had already started training Army personnel to drive fuel tankers if strikes go ahead.

Unite has not named any dates for a strike but has not ruled out the prospect of action over the Easter weekend.

Diana Holland, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said: “These votes send a clear message throughout the industry and should prompt all the major companies to get around the table to establish minimum standards.

“This is not about pay – this is about ensuring that high safety and training standards are maintained, so that our communities are safe.”

Have your say

give me 45,000 a year and ill drive your tanker if i cant get to work ill loose money drivers holding the countyr to ransom to kill the easter trade

Posted by dave on 29 March 2012 at 08:10

As the report says, the independent forecourts should not be affected as they are supplied by local hauliers. Time to support your local trades.

Posted by Miss Maud on 29 March 2012 at 04:59

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