Last-minute talks to avert a potential strike that could result in petrol shortages across the UK are being held.
Unions representing 500 oil tanker drivers planning a four-day strike are meeting with employers in efforts to resolve a pay dispute. The two sides are due to meet for talks led by conciliation service Acas.
Members of Unite working for two firms on contracts with Shell are threatening to walkout on Friday with fears that the strike will affect one in 10 filling stations across the UK.
The government is urging motorists not to panic buy fuel because of fears of petrol shortages.
The drivers work for Hoyer UK and Suckling Transport, haulage firms employed by Shell to deliver fuel to its petrol station forecourts across the UK. They have rejected an improved offer of a 6.8% pay rise.
Unite said Shell should step in to help resolve the dispute. Assistant general secretary Len McCluskey said: “It is no use Shell bosses, who have themselves enjoyed 15%-plus pay increases in the last year, sitting on their hands.
“They have 72 hours to start focusing on avoiding the disruption this will cause to the general public, who are already mindful of the staggering profits Shell rakes in.”