Gasoline trade talks start in London

April 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM
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LONDON, April 4 (UPI) -- Subcontractors in Great Britain aren't giving tanker drivers fair pay or safe working conditions, union leaders said amid labor talks Wednesday.

The Unite labor union, which represents drivers at seven companies responsible for supplying 90 percent of British gasoline stations, says subcontractors in the industry aren't paying drivers enough. The union called for better pay and a minimum standard for work hours and holidays, the BBC reports.

Negotiators dispatched to a secret location are going room-to-room because parties to the negotiation are working to settle the dispute in separate areas, the broadcaster adds.

Gasoline shortages were reported at refueling stations last week after the British government sparked panic by urging motorists to top off fuel tanks in preparation of a looming strike.

Station operators said there were shortages this week but union officials said they wouldn't strike ahead of the Easter holiday. Under British law, unions must give one week's notice before striking.

The British government has toned down its warning, saying there's "no urgency to top up your tank."

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