Tanker drivers could still strike this month after they failed to reach a last ditch deal with employers.
However, reports suggest the drivers, who are fighting for better terms and conditions and improved safety, and their union Unite would seek further talks with the haulage firms as soon as possible rather than taking industrial action.
Now that the deal, reportedly regarded by the drivers as insufficient and “not going far enough”, has been rejected Unite still has until tomorrow’s deadline to announce any strike action, but it is believed both the drivers and their representatives are keen to start negotiations with employers again through Acas.
Speaking last week, Acas chief conciliator Peter Harwood said: “The process has been a challenging one, but we are pleased to announce a set of proposals have been reached.”
Union officials, who must give at least seven days notice of strikes, will consider whether these proposals achieve the minimum standards in safety and training the drivers have been calling for.
Len McLuskey, Unite general secretary, stated last week the UK was on the brink of its first oil dispute in over a decade.
He added: “In overwhelming numbers, tanker drivers have voted to strike. It doesn’t have to be this way. For well over a year, Unite’s driver members have been patiently pressing the industry.
“They have been saying ‘stop this contract culture insanity, make this industry stable’.”
The threat of a walkout is still being viewed as real, with sightings of Armed Forces personnel - who will be providing emergency cover if a strike happens - carrying out training exercises in petrol stations down in England earlier this month.