CHEMICAL tanker drivers employed by P&O Trans European are on the verge of strike action.
The workforce at the company's Rossmore depot are angry at what they claim is the management's decision to terminate their current contracts and re-employ them on a new deal. They say this would have a detrimental effect on their pay and conditions.
One driver, who does not wish to be named, warned strike action was inevitable unless the company backs down.
He said: 'We have all had letters saying our contracts are terminated and we will be re-employed on new contracts but these will basically mean a pay cut.'
Andrew Dodgson, a spokesman for the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G), said: 'We have been in talks with P&O and even the arbitration service Acas. However, talks broke down when the company walked out. We will now move towards a ballot for industrial action.'
Jackie Fraser-Smith, a spokeswoman for P&O, said: 'We have eight depots around the country. The unions approached us last year to recognise each depot as part of the one business. From the company's point of view we agreed and we want to put forward a deal so all workers are paid the same.
'We have given the drivers three choices. One is to accept our deal, which we believe is a fair one. Two, to move on and accept a severance package and, three, take the deal on a two-month trial.'