Hundreds of oil tanker drivers contracted to oil giant Shell have voted to go on strike in a row over pay, it was announced yesterday.
Unite said the 500 drivers, who work out of terminals across mainland Britain, had voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.
The union is campaigning for a minimum wage of £36,000 a year, around £2,000 more than drivers are paid.
National officer Ron Webb, said the strong vote in favour of strike reflected increasing anger among workers.
“These drivers are paying a hefty price for Shell’s stratospheric profits. In the first quarter of this year alone, Shell banked £4billion in profit, yet they continue to force cost-cutting through their supply chain and shorter contracts on to contractors, with constant pressure and demands on our members to improve productivity, which they have delivered.
“Our members’ dedication helped Shell make its vast profits. All they are asking for in return is a living wage, one that reflects their skills, their heavy working week and helps make ends meet at a time when every worker in the country is being hit hard by rising fuel and food prices.”
Unite will meet with the workers’ employer, Hoyer, for further talks in a bid to resolve the dispute.
A spokesman for Hoyer UK said: “We are disappointed to see our drivers have voted to take industrial action.
“We have made what we consider to be a good offer of 6% on all elements of pay and had hoped this would provide the basis for a settlement.
But once taxes are imposed, the average price is higher than any other EU country.
The figures show taxes made up 58% of the total price in April raising the cost from an average 48.8p a litre to 116.6p.
Pre-tax unleaded prices for April were the third-lowest of all EU states, at 41.2p a litre, but after tax the 107.6p cost meant 18 other EU countries had cheaper petrol.