FPS comment regarding Unite Strike action - 02/04/2012
Trade Association, FPS (The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers) represents over
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80% of oil distribution companies in mainland Great Britain, who are, in the main,
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.
From talks we have held with our members over the last few months, they have not
reported that any strike action is being taken by their drivers and 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. At this early stage it is unclear the effect of the
result of the UNITE ballot will have on the delivery of heating oils to our customers.
As more information becomes available especially regarding the timing of any strike
and proposed industrial action and the Government’s mitigation actions we will have
a clearer picture.
UNITE has talked about minimum standards on safety as one of their reasons for
strike action. Health and safety is of high priority to FPS and its member companies
and much of the regulation under which we operate is related to health, safety and
environmental matters. 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 will avert the planned strike 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.