Hoyer Petrolog UK move to cut driver jobs triggers strike action threat

Hoyer Petrolog UK is being threatened with strike action after proposing to make six drivers redundant at its Stanlow refinery and Bramhall depots in Cheshire.

The proposed job cuts have been prompted by the firm’s plummeting aviation and retail fuel delivery volumes, which have fallen dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the pandemic lockdown the company’s aviation volumes initially slumped to 5% of normal levels and are now at around 40%. Retail fuel volumes also fell to 30% of normal levels and are currently at around 85%.

Fuel tanker drivers at the firm’s Stanlow Refinery and Bramhall depots are balloting for industrial action this week. If the drivers vote for industrial action the strikes could begin later this month and Hoyer Petrolog could see its fuel deliveries to petrol stations, supermarkets and airports disrupted.

The dispute was triggered by Hoyer’s proposal to make six of around 20 workers redundant and replace the roles with six alternatives which Unite claims offer “inferior terms and conditions”, including a compulsory lay-off clause.

The lay-off clauses were opposed by Unite, resulting in Hoyer withdrawing the jobs and resuming the redundancy procedure.

Unite said it has since entered into “detailed and lengthy negotiations” with the company to avoid job losses and has proposed costed alternatives. However it said these have been rejected by Hoyer and talks have broken down.

Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard, said: “Hoyer is drinking in the last chance saloon, if it is serious about avoiding highly disruptive industrial action.

“Unite has proposed detailed alternatives to avoid job losses but these have been rejected by Hoyer’s local management.

“If industrial action is taken it will be absolutely as a last resort, but it has to be understood this will have a huge impact on fuel deliveries across a large chunk of England.

“It is imperative that Hoyer returns to the negotiating table and enters into meaningful negotiations to save jobs and avoid the need for industrial action and the inevitable disruption this will cause.”

A Hoyer spokesperson said: “We have some of the best drivers in the industry who are critical to us in providing an outstanding service to our retail fuels and aviation customers. As such, the decision to reduce this highly skilled workforce has not been taken lightly. However, these redundancies are a result of a dramatic reduction in our retail and aviation fuel volumes over the past six months.

During the Covid-19 crisis, the company’s aviation volumes dropped to just 5% of normal levels, more recently settling at around 40%. Furthermore, our retail fuel volumes dropped to just 30% of normal levels, more recently settling at around 85%.

“The further tightening of lockdown restrictions will in no way improve these current volumes whilst it is clear we will not return to ‘normal’ for at least the next 12 months, if at all.

“During the summer, Hoyer approached our drivers with an offer to guarantee no redundancies for 12 months, subject to them agreeing to a number of mitigating measures, including a temporary short-time working/lay-off clause that would only be used in extreme circumstances.

“Our drivers collectively decided that this was not an offer they wished to take up. Alternatives for redeployment have also disappeared following increasing uncertainty regarding future volumes.

“Against an unprecedented economic backdrop Hoyer has strived to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on our business and on the livelihoods of our drivers and staff.

“Since the start of the crisis we have topped up all wages to 100% of basic pay for all those who have been furloughed and supported by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“However, the huge reduction in volumes, with an increasingly uncertain future, means retaining jobs for all our drivers is unsustainable.

“Despite this, we remain committed to working with Unite to ensure that all viable jobs can be secured and we look forward to receiving their costed alternative proposals.

“In the meantime, we are finalising our contingency plans to ensure any unwanted industrial action will not impact our valued customers or consumers.”

The post Hoyer Petrolog UK move to cut driver jobs triggers strike action threat appeared first on Motor Transport.

Hoyer Petrolog UK is being threatened with strike action after proposing to make six drivers redundant at its Stanlow refinery and Bramhall depots in Cheshire. The proposed job cuts have been prompted by the firm’s plummeting aviation and retail fuel delivery volumes, which have fallen dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the pandemic lockdown the company’s aviation volumes initially slumped to 5% of normal levels and are now at around 40%. Retail fuel volumes also fell to 30% of normal […]
The post Hoyer Petrolog UK move to cut driver jobs triggers strike action threat appeared first on Motor Transport.Read More

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