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Support the Tanker drivers!

By Sally Turner

 

As soldiers prepare to scab on tanker drivers, it is clear that the threat of a national strike remains very real. Despite ongoing negotiations and a final proposal from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to prevent a strike, it seems unlikely that drivers will accept it.

Last month, workers at all but one of the seven companies involved voted for strike action, with unusually high turnouts for postal votes. Petrol would dry up quickly during a strike, as these drivers supply 90 per cent of station forecourts.

Tory Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude caused panic buying and queues at the pumps in March, when said that a “bit of fuel in a jerry can in the garage” would be “a sensible precaution”. The following day a woman suffered serious burns in York, after trying to decant petrol in her kitchen.

This dispute is entirely winnable, but Unite officials appear to be caving in to political pressure from the government, which has tried to whip up a hate campaign against the drivers. Like the British Airways cabin crew two years ago, the tanker drivers are being set up as the new “enemy within”. No one should fall for those lies.

The tanker drivers deserve our complete support. Their demands on conditions, which would prevent bosses from undercutting wages or sacrificing safety on the altar of profit, are entirely reasonable and affordable. Any attempt to use the army to break strikes must be met with mass pickets – they cannot be allowed to drive thousands of litres of petrol on our roads with little or no safety training.

Victory to the tanker drivers!

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