Fuel tankers strike

FUEL supplies to the islands could be disrupted if a tanker driver strike goes ahead on the mainland in the next few weeks.

Scottish Fuels supply the majority of fuel to the islands and say the strike action will not involve their drivers directly but are not ruling out any disruption.

In a statement they said: “Whilst we are aware of the proposed Unite tanker driver strike industrial action (which does not involve our drivers directly), as yet we have no confirmed details if this will actually proceed, when it may occur, or for how long.”

They added: “As is well-documented in the media, Government authorities are currently in negotiations to avert the strike.  It is also a legal requirement for the union to provide no less than seven days notice to their member’s relevant employers before any strike takes place, which has not yet been announced.” 

Highlands and Islands Airports (HIAL) say they were putting in place contingency plans to ensure they have adequate supplies should this action go ahead.

The dispute over terms and conditions and safety standards has led to an overwhelming vote in support of industrial actions by members of UNITE union.

Around 2,000 members of Unite in seven companies were balloted for the first national campaign of action for over a decade with five out of the seven backing a walkout.

Commenting a spokesperson for HIAL said: “We are working on detailed contingencies across all airports to ensure that, in the event of industrial action, we can continue to operate normal services. Passengers can be assured that we have ample reserves of fuel and are continuing to restock. We do not expect any disruption to services.

“For obvious security reasons, we never divulge the volume of fuel we have in reserve.”

The Comhairle are also considering making contingency plans but say it is too early to be specific.

A spokesperson said: “We are aware of the situation and looking at contingency arrangements should they prove necessary. COSLA are also working with the Scottish Government at a national level and will advise local authorities accordingly.”