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Drivers face pay cut of pounds 100 a week.

CHEMICAL tanker drivers based at Ellesmere Port have voted to take industrial action over new contracts of employment.

They claim the imposition of the new contracts will cut pay by up to pounds 5,000 a year.

More than 50 drivers working for P&O Trans European at Rossmore industrial estate will join almost another 50 nationally in a series of one-day strikes.

The decision follows months of talks which finally broke down in July.

The drivers were balloted and voted by more than 90pc in favour of strike action and the first strike could be next Monday.

Other dates are September 17, 24 and 25.

The drivers, who work in the company's Spot Affreightment Division, say they will picket the Ellesmere Port depot until their demands are met.

Ron Webb, the Transport and General Workers' Union national secretary for transport, said: "The strength of the drivers' feelings is now clear for the company to see.

"The company wants to cut its costs by cutting our members' pay and that is simply not acceptable."

The Spot Affreightment Division is responsible for transporting hazardous chemicals, making deliveries to many independent petrol retailers, particularly in rural areas, as well as car showrooms. Fuel deliveries will not be affected.

The drivers, who have colleagues at Immingham, Middlesborough and Thurrock, voted by 64 to five for strike action.

The row started after the company established a single national wage deal to replace eight different regional deals.

P&O claims the drivers will not suffer any loss of pay and that they will be given notice of termination of their existing contracts and offered re-employment under the new terms.

By law, the union must give the P&O seven days' notice of strike action and the company said last night it had not.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 4, 2001
Words:298
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