Fuel stocks at ‘good levels’ despite strike - BP
OIL firm BP said fuel stocks at the 112 filling stations and airports hit by today’s Grangemouth tanker drivers’ strike were at “good levels” after being replenished from elsewhere.
A total of 42 BP drivers at the refinery near Falkirk started a three-day walkout at 4am over pensions and pay,
The Unite union said they would impose an overtime ban when returning to work on Monday followed by a further four-day stoppage from Thursday.
BP said it had brought in supplies from other refineries and companies for its 100 filling stations - mostly in Scotland - and the 12 airports it normally supplied from Grangemouth.
They include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Newcastle airports.
Edinburgh is thought to be the airport most likely to be affected by any supply shortage because it has smaller tanks than Glasgow, despite overtaking it as Scotland’s busiest seven years ago.
An Edinburgh airport spokesman said today: “It’s business as usual this weekend, but we are monitoring the situation closely and our team will continue to discuss potential contingencies with out business partners to minimise disruption.”
BP said it usually made 45 filling station and 22 airport deliveries on weekdays from Grangemouth, and 25 and 20 respectively on Saturdays and Sundays.
BP accounts for more than a fifth of the 300 daily deliveries from Grangemouth among the seven firms which take stocks from the refinery.
Its spokesman said: “We have known action was in the offing for some time so we have made sure there are good supplies at petrol stations and airports.
“Contingency plans have been under way over the last week, with supplies from other terminals and companies.
“We are content our stocks are at good levels.”
The industrial action came after 90 per cent of the drivers balloted voted for strikes to defend their pension rights and protest at the loss of a company share scheme when 15 of them are switched from airport suppliers Air BP to another firm, DHL, in two weeks’ time.
Unite claimed some drivers could be up to £1,500 a year worse off over the loss of the share-match scheme and some stand to lose up to £13,000 a year from their pension on retirement when the changes happen.
A Unite spokesman said:
“We’re not going out of our way to inconvenience anybody, but I think anybody who was going to be undertaking the scale of cuts that our members are would take the same course of action.
“On Monday morning a ban on overtime begins. For an industry that has its backbone built on overtime, we’ll see how that transpires.”
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty added: “There needs to be stability in this industry. Because of the tendering process these companies tend to compete with one another, so terms and conditions suffer as a result. There is a fundamental flaw in employment legislation which means pensions are not protected and so we get to this race to the bottom.”
BP declined to comment on the union’s claims.
The Scottish Government said it had called on both sides to take the dispute to the conciliation service Acas.
Finance secretary John Swinney said: “I have spoken with both Unite and BP to encourage them to resolve this issue before any strike action was called. I am therefore disappointed a resolution has not been found to date.
“It is now essential that additional efforts are made to resolve the dispute and I have asked both parties to meet with Acas as a matter of urgency to seek a resolution.
“I am confident the necessary contingency arrangements are in place to minimise disruption to the public.”The Petrol Retailers’ Association, which represents independent filling stations, said some of its members which sold BP fuel had been told deliveries might be delayed by a day, but that was unlikely to cause them to run out.
However, it expressed concern that things might get worse with a second strike due next week.
Chairman Brian Madderson said some forecourts in the Central Belt had reported a 5-10 per cent increase in fuel sales today.
He said the impact of drivers “taking precautions” by buying extra fuel was likely to have a greater impact on supplies than in the past because many motorists now normally drove around with emptier tanks because of high prices.
Mr Madderson said many filling stations also held minimum stocks for the same reason.
The PRA said it had been told by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change “that the industry had been working to ensure there is a good level of fuel supplies at forecourts in preparation for the current strike and therefore motorists should therefore buy fuel as normal.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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