FPS Comment - Unite Strike ballot - 02/03/2012
Trade Association, FPS (The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers) represents over
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80% of oil distribution companies in Great Britain, who are, in the main, small family
businesses responsible for deliveries of almost all the home heating oil used in Great
Britain, in addition to marine, agricultural, commercial, industrial and independent
forecourt deliveries with a combined fleet of around 2500 tankers.
Supplying essential heating oil to consumers and fuel for farms etc., is the mainstay
of our members’ business and, because the distributor drivers know most of their
customers personally, they will do their utmost to ensure that they don't go without
fuel. We therefore believe that they will not take strike action as most do not want to
see their customers or their employer suffer through their action.
From talks we have held with our 206+ members, they report that morale is not low
and, unlike the large oil companies, there hasn’t been constant reorganisation or
redundancies. The majority say that of most concern to drivers is job security
because of the economic situation.
Unite has talked about minimum standards on safety. Health and safety is of high
priority to FPS and its member companies. The FPS assists its members in
achieving maximum safety with a series of best practice publications, such as its
‘Guidelines to Safer Deliveries’, a Driver’s Handbook and JAUPT accredited Driver
CPC training courses tailored specifically to tanker drivers.
Furthermore, FPS member drivers, unlike their counterparts in the larger
organisations, do not work shifts and the amount of actual driving done is very small
compared with the mainline tanker drivers - it is a completely different job as the
distributor drivers make many, small deliveries to a wide variety of sites - agricultural,
domestic, commercial etc under a variety of conditions.
The FPS hopes that the UNITE tanker drivers do not take industrial action as the
effect on the UK and its economy would be very damaging at a time when the UK is
in a delicate economic state. We would urge all concerned parties to do their utmost
to avoid what could a very damaging campaign of industrial action.