A deal to resolve the bitter fuel drivers’ pay dispute was agreed last night, averting the threat of further strikes.
The breakthrough came at the end of all-day talks between leaders of the Unite union and managers from haulage firms Hoyer and Suckling Transport.
Hundreds of drivers went on strike for four days, leading to fuel shortages mainly at Shell garages across the country. The union had warned of further strikes this weekend, but that has now been averted.
A brief statement said: “Hoyer, Suckling and Unite are pleased to confirm that they have successfully concluded pay talks.”
Following yesterday’s meeting at the union’s headquarters in London, Unite will recommend a new pay deal to its drivers, details of which were being kept secret.
Drivers will now be balloted over the coming week, with a recommendation to accept.
In the meantime, all industrial action has been called off, including a ban on overtime.
The drivers walked out on strike last Friday at 6am, returning at 6am yesterday.
They picketed fuel depots and refineries across the country and warned of a further four-day strike from this Friday.
The Government, industry and motorists will breathe a huge sigh of relief that the dispute has been resolved.
The union had been seeking a pay rise to give drivers a basic of around £36,000 and accused Shell of refusing to intervene in the row.
Hundreds of garages were still out of one or more types of fuel yesterday, causing continuing problems for motorists.
Chairman of Shell, James Smith, said: “We are delighted that Hoyer and Unite have reached this stage in their negotiations.
“We are pleased that the industrial action has now been suspended. We once again apologise for the inconvenience which may have been caused to our customers across the UK.”
The AA’s Fuel Price Report for June disclosed that average petrol prices soared by 5.61p per litre between mid-May and mid-June, while diesel shot up 7.39p.
The average cost of petrol in the UK is now 118.16p per litre. Diesel stands at 131.56p per litre.
London and the south-east remain the most expensive areas to buy petrol in the UK. Scotland and the South West were found to be the dearest places for diesel.