Fears of petrol shortage in Louth and Mablethorpe re-ignite after strike talks fail

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FEARS of repeats of the recent chaos at the petrol pumps have been re-ignited after fuel tanker drivers rejected the latest terms over strike action.

Tanker drivers yesterday overwhelmingly rejected proposals tabled by employers after six days of talks with ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).

Earlier this month motorists around the country, including in Louth and Mablethorpe area garages, queued at the pumps for fuel as the threat of strike action became likely.

Many garages ran dry after days of panic just before Easter after Conservative Minister Francis Maude advised motorists to keep some fuel in their garage in a ‘jerry can’, a move condemned by many including Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Unite, the union representing the 1,200 or so tanker drivers involved in the dispute, say it will now seek further talks with the six main employers.

The dispute centres around health and safety training, employment security and sub contracting and the Union said they are yet to be convinced that the problems would be addressed.

This morning (Thursday) queues had been reported at the Esso garage in Newmarket in Louth as news from the union began to filter through the national news.

Unite assistant general secretary, Diana Holland, said: “We remain committed to achieving a negotiated settlement that brings stability and security to a vital industry, and gives this workforce - and the public - confidence that the race to the bottom in this vital industry is ending.

“For too long operators have presided over under-cutting and the erosion of standards. This is simply not sustainable, and it is beholden on all parties to work together to establish a meaningful set of minimum standards that brings order to a chaotic industry.

“While there has been some progress it is clear that our members need more guarantees and assurance from the employers about their commitment to meaningful minimum standards.

“We will be going back to the employers in a bid to reach a negotiated settlement.”

Peter Harwood, Acas’ Chief Conciliator, said: “Naturally, we are disappointed at today’s outcome, following the parties’ intensive talks at Acas over the last two weeks. We are contacting the parties and the challenge now is to see if we can find a way forward.”

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