More than one hundred P & O oil tanker drivers are being
asked to vote on whether to strike in a row over new employment contracts.
Oil tanker drivers working in the Spot Affreightment
division of P & O Trans European are being balloted for industrial action
over contracts which could slash their pay by up to £5,000.
The drivers, based at Ellesmere Port, West Thurrock,
Billingham and Hull will receive voting papers next week in the national ballot,
which will end on August 30.
The threat of industrial action follows months of
negotiations which broke down when the company walked out of talks at the
arbitration service Acas last month.
Ron Webb, the T & G’s national secretary for transport,
who is the lead negotiator for the drivers, said, “No one pretends that this is
anything other than a hard business to be in because the division has to work
to very tight margins. However, this does not mean that our members should have
to have their terms and conditions of work reduced to pay for the company’s
He added, “Moving oil bought on the spot market is still a
dangerous load and carries big responsibilities. They deserve to be well
rewarded and respected for the work they do. Instead the company is looking to
cut their pay.”
The union is concerned that the new payments scheme may
force drivers to cut corners on health and safety to earn a living wage.