Friday, June 13, 2008
British drivers have been urged not to panic buy fuel because of the 4-day walkout by delivery drivers working for companies delivering to Shell petrol stations. The 600 workers have walked out over pay disagreements, wanting an increase to their current pay of £36,500, however their union Unite turned down a last-minute offer of £41,500.
Hoyer UK, which employs tanker drivers for Shell, said, “We extended our offer to the very limits that our business could sustain.” However Unite said in a press release that, “this dispute could have been resolved if Shell had advanced a fraction of the billions of pounds in profit they make every month”, continuing to say, “one of the world’s richest companies is prepared to play Pontius Pilate and see the British public inconvenienced rather than settle this dispute for a sum smaller than the chairman’s pay increase last year”
Shell admitted that the walkout could leave some of its 1,000 forecourts without fuel, but the UK Petrol Industry Association, which represent oil refiners, said that forecourts would have around 4 days of supply, maintaining usual stocking levels. Shell also commented that the strike impact would be “significant”, as the company runs around 1 in 10 of all petrol stations in the UK.
British Business Secretary, John Hutton, said that “the strike, which will have a disproportionate effect on people in Britain, cannot be justified,” and urged both sides to resume negotiations in order to settle the dispute. “We have been working closely with industry to put in place detailed contingency plans to reduce as far as possible the disruption for the driving public,” he added. Unite’s press release also confirms that “provision has been made for fire, police and the emergency services.”
Tanker drivers on strike have set up picket lines at many of Shell’s UK refineries, including those in Stanlow, Avonmouth, Plymouth, Pembroke, Cardiff, Kingsbury, Basildon, Grangemouth, Aberdeen, Inverness, Jarrow and Luton Airport.