1 May 2014

BP working on plan to deal with strike

4:48 pm on 1 May 2014

Oil company BP says it's taking steps to prevent a petrol shortage at its Northland service stations, following strike action by tanker drivers.

Six of the eight drivers for Toll Carriers have called an indefinite strike on Thursday, after negotiating since January for parity with non-union drivers who they say are paid more.

First Union says that's likely to cause shortages at BP and GAS outlets from Orewa to Cape Reinga, within a week.

BP spokesperson Jonty Mills said the company would do all it could to make sure that did not happen.

He said the company is able to move fuel around and the longer the dispute continues the more pressure it puts on the fuel supply chain but BP was not expecting there to be any impact.

Mr Mills said BP had a strong presence in Northland and was looking at all its options to keep service stations replenished during the drivers' strike.

Union organiser Jared Abbott said the six drivers, who are union members, had been bargaining with the Australian-owned company since January, to no effect.

Mr Abbott said the company paid the lowest rates in the industry and it had refused to offer the union drivers what it was paying non-union staff with less experience.

"So what they're looking for is parity with those two non-union drivers, it equates to less than a two percent wage increase."