Unite is warning that petrol shortages and delays to flights are likely to occur if tanker drivers employed by Hoyer Petrolog UK Limited based in Ellesmere Port take industrial action in a pay dispute.
The workers are employed on the Flexi-Fleet Petrolog contract and undertake deliveries to Euro garages and also Exxon Esso forecourts. The company also delivers aviation fuel to Leeds Bradford airport on behalf of Essar and Liverpool John Lennon airport on behalf of World Fuels Services. The dispute would also impact the operations of BP, Shell and Essar at the Stanlow refinery.
The dispute is a result of Hoyer operating several different contracts from its Ellesmere Port hub but employing tanker drivers on different terms and conditions and different rates of pay.
The workers have overwhelmingly backed industrial action in a consultative ballot and a full industrial ballot is currently being prepared. If members vote for strike action, then disruption to garages and airports will occur this autumn.
Unite members on the Flexi-Fleet Petrolog contract were prepared to enter into a three year pay deal, provided the pay disparities, which results in the Flexi-Fleet drivers being paid £2 an hour less than their colleagues, would be closed. Hoyer refused to tackle the pay disparity.
Hoyer Petrolog UK’s financial performance is impressive. Turnover has been steadily increasing, there was an 11 per cent jump in turnover in 2017 with income rising form £119 million to £132 million and turnover continued to rise last year, increasing by a further 0.6 per cent to £133 million.
Unite members are angered that the pay of a Hoyer director has increased from £239,487 in 2017 and risen to £290,629 according to the company’s 2018 accounts.
Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said, “Our members are highly qualified, skilled and dedicated but Hoyer is ignoring this when bidding for contracts, in what can only be described as a race to the bottom.
“Hoyer has said it has to remain competitive when bidding for contracts but our members have made it clear that they will no longer accept the inbuilt pay disparity,” he added.
“If strike action occurs it will have a massive impact on fuel deliveries throughout the North West and beyond.
“However our members will only take strike action as a last resort. Unite remains open to negotiations at any time. However, the only way a dispute can now be avoided is if the company takes the pay claim seriously.”