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Norbert Dentressangle slams Unite for recommending a tanker driver "no vote"

  • 01 May 2012
  • By Hayley Pink

Norbert Dentressangle (ND) has criticised union Unite for “predjudicing the neutral stance” it promised in taking the latest set of fuel tanker proposals to a consultative ballot.

The statement follows a vote by around 60 Unite members at a recent oil trades conference recommending tanker drivers reject the deal when it goes to a national ballot, which is taking place at present.

ND says the agreement, reached after eight days of negotiations between six fuel distribution firms and Unite, includes “substantive” measures to establish greater job security for drivers, including standards for health, safety and training, as well as industry pay benchmarking.

It adds that it believes the proposals address the issues raised by Unite and represent a fair and reasonable settlement for drivers.

However, ND warns that the latest deal represents “the limit” of what can be agreed towards achieving minimum standards across the industry, and that establishing a minimum pay level for drivers is not possible.

Ann Dawson, MD of ND Tankers, says: “From the outset, the operators have stated that sector-wide collective bargaining on pay was not to be on the agenda. With just one-third of the industry represented by the employers involved, we would be unable to impose minimum pay levels on the wider industry.

“We have remained committed to finding a solution to the dispute throughout the negotiation process and, despite the outcome of the oil trades conference, very much hope that our drivers will acknowledge the progress that has been made by voting for an end to this damaging dispute.”

The results from the consultative ballot are due to be announced on Friday 11 May, with any industrial action planned by Unite carried out on or before Monday 21 May, following seven days’ notice.

The six firms involved in the negotiations are Hoyer, Turners (Soham), Wincanton, ND, BP and DHL.


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