Pickets lined the road outside Grangemouth’s Petro Ineos refinery from the early hours of Friday in protest against employer BP’s stance on pay and pensions.
Over 40 BP tankers drivers based at the town’s oil refinery displayed their Unite the union banners and police officers were in place to ensure the demonstration passed off safely and had minimum impact on the local community.
Unite say the discontinous strike, which is scheduled to end at 8 a.m. on Monday, highlights members fury at the cuts to pensions and pay following the transfer of a key fuel transport contract. According to the union, 90 per cent of the 42 tanker drivers balloted voted to strike following the contract transfer from BP to DHL.
Tony Trench, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “It’s an outrage BP, a multi-national giant which earns billions every year, is exploiting the UK’s weak employment laws to effectively swindle workers out of their retirement savings and future earnings.
“This year, one-third of workers on the aviation contract at Grangemouth could lose up to £13,000 a year from their pension on retirement and two-thirds upwards of £1,400 a year from their basic earnings due to the loss of the BP share-match scheme.”
Protestors stayed tight lipped on the picket lines on Friday morning when asked about the disruption their action would cause, but Unite officials stated it would hit aviation supplies and deliveries to BP forecourts across Scotland and the north east of England.
The Grangemouth drivers also intend to begin a work-to-rule immediately after the first strike ends on Monday morning and plan a four-day strike from Thursday, February 28, if no settlement is reached.
A BP spokesman said: “Our priority remains the safe delivery of fuel products to all our customers. We have been working to, and continue to work to, minimise any potential disruption the industrial action could cause.”
A spokesman for Ineos added: “This is a dispute between a fuel distribution employer and their employees. The Grangemouth site does not employ any drivers directly or indirectly to deliver fuel.
“Our refining operations continue as normal.”