Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

New proposals for tanker drivers

Unite has been given until May 21 to decide whether to accept the deal for fuel tanker drivers

A final set of proposals has been drawn up in a bid to avert strikes by fuel tanker drivers.

The Unite union has been given until May 21 to decide whether to accept the deal, removing the immediate threat of industrial action.

The development followed 12 hours of talks between the union and officials from distribution companies involved in the row over a number of issues including terms and conditions, pensions and health and safety.

Acas chief conciliator Peter Harwood said: "Following a further two days of intensive discussions, a final set of proposals has been produced by the fuel distribution contractors and Unite.

"The industrial action mandate has been extended to May 21 to enable Unite to consult with its Oils Trade Conference and the membership on these proposals."

Mr Harwood added: "As I said last time, the details of the proposals are confidential until the parties report back to their respective organisations. After that the detail may be disclosed by the parties themselves. Acas would like to thank the parties for their commitment, hard work and patience during the course of these difficult negotiations and hope that these proposals will lead to a successful outcome."

A meeting of drivers' representatives is expected to be held in the next few days, probably followed by a ballot of union members.

The union reps overwhelmingly turned down a previous proposed deal, leading to fresh talks this week with officials of six distribution companies.

Neither side would release details of the new proposals.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "It is encouraging that the parties have worked to produce a final set of proposals, and agreed to allow time for these to be put to the union membership. The Government continues to believe that strike action would be wrong and unnecessary and hopes that disruptive action is close to being averted."

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