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Fuel strike threats reignite

This week we are again on tenterhooks waiting for a decision from the Unite Union whether they will strike or not after a deal put to them by fuel company bosses was rejected yesterday.

The deal – which took six weeks of intense negotiation to produce – was deemed not good enough by Unite.  According to Diana Holland, Assistant General Secretary for Unite, the union is still looking for “more guarantees and assurance from the employers about their commitment to meaningful minimum standards”.

She said, “important progress” had been made on issues including health and safety, and training, but bosses need to go further in the areas of maintaining standards, security of employment and subcontracting.

Conciliation service ACAS is overseeing negotiations between the two parties and says it is “disappointed” that a deal wasn’t struck and now faces a challenge to resolve the parties’ dispute.

Looking to Government, Ed Davey, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, maintains his stance that any strike action would be wrong and unnecessary.  Apart from this non-news we’ve heard very little from the two major political parties, whose leaders seem more focused on placing blame on each other over the potential fuel crisis, rather than doing anything about it.

At least we’ve not had any more ridiculous tips from Francis Maud!

In the meantime, Diana Holland has told everyone “don’t panic” – we appreciate the thought Diana, but that’s not the most reassuring thing to hear from you right now.

Unite will reach a decision tomorrow (Friday 20th April) and has to give seven days notice if any strike action is to be taken.

Perhaps it would be wise to start putting aside a little money or fuel every week to go into a ‘strike fund’, just in case, because even if Unite decide not to strike this week, they’ll probably threaten to next week!


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