TANKER drivers in Ellesmere Port have voted to take strike action in a dispute over job cuts.

The Hoyer Petrolog UK employees based at the Stanlow oil refinery recorded an overwhelming 96.2% vote in favour of 14 days of industrial action next month.

Unite the Union says the strikes will cause "considerable disruption" to fuel supplies for road users and the aviation sector in northern England.

Last week, we reported that members were being balloted for industrial action over plans to make six of the 20-plus drivers redundant.

Following the vote in favour of action, Unite says it gave Hoyer a final opportunity to withdraw its proposals but when it refused to do so had no option but to announce the strike dates.

The 24-hour strikes will take place on November 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 20, 23, 25 and 27.

Hoyer says "detailed contingency plans" will be put in place to "ensure any action has a negligible impact on our operations", adding that it remains committed to engaging with the union to find ways to "mitigate the redundancies".

Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said: "Unite’s members have delivered a stunning mandate in favour of industrial action.

"Despite Unite giving Hoyer every opportunity to resolve this dispute through negotiations, it has refused to do so and as a consequence and as a last resort Unite has announced strike dates.

"Our members regret that their action will cause considerable disruption to fuel deliveries but believe they have no other option in order to save their jobs.

"Fuel tanker drivers are frontline workers and throughout this pandemic their work has ensured that other frontline workers can continue to go to work. They deserve to be treated better than this.

"The ball is now firmly in Hoyer’s court. It can still avoid strike action occurring by withdrawing the threat of job cuts."

A Hoyer spokesperson said: "We can confirm that we have received notification of industrial action at our parking location in Cheshire which will result in a small number of our fuel tankers not operating on the nominated days.

"However, we will be implementing detailed contingency plans to ensure any action has a negligible impact on our operations.

"We remain committed to engaging with the union representatives regarding any meaningful and realistic proposals that can be put forward in order to mitigate the redundancies.

"However, the challenge remains that these jobs rely directly on people returning to driving their cars and flying in planes at 'normal' levels – things which are simply beyond our control."

Unite the Union says customers of Hoyer include: Shell, Esso, BP, Essar, World Fuel Services (WFS), Motor Fuel Group (MFG), Rontec, Euro Garages, Greenenergy and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.