I Want to be a Tanker Driver

June 14, 2008 | By Paul Mackenzie Ross | Filed in: business.

ShellThis strike action by Shell petrol tanker drivers is rather interesting.

These truck drivers don’t actually work for Shell but for the haulage firms Hoyer UK and Suckling Transport who are contracted out to Shell. The drivers are members of the Unite union and apparently the union wants these tanker drivers to be on a basic pay of £36,000 a year.

Apparently these tanker drivers are, in the words of a friend & mechanic, the creme de la creme of truck drivers. Driving a truck is quite literally a pretty big responsibility and having hundreds of litres of highly flammable liquid as a cargo is potentially quite dangerous. Not to mention the fact that there are millions of vehicles on this island’s roads and petrol is the life-blood of the economy.

Add to this the fact that their £32,000 a year salary has supposedly at that rate for the last 6 years and back then they only did a 37 hour week whilst now they do a 48 hour week for the same measly 32,000 English pounds. I’d be upset too!

And need I mention the fact that Shell is an oil company and oil prices are extortionately high due to a) weak dollar b) fnite resources c) unwillingness/inability to increase production by Opec et al d) a slew of other factors. Shell, back in April, reported making £3.9billion in profit for the first three months of the year so they are filthy rich!

So back to the point – These petrol tanker drivers want a basic pay of £36,000 a year. Whilst inflation is up and the economy is looking rocky, house prices are falling and food and petrol prices are going up it’s no wonder these drivers want more money, especially for doing more hours and not getting a pay rise in the last 6 years.


What about the rest of us? Don’t we want a pay rise too? Let’s start with the usual suspects who all deserve pay rises… Teachers, nurses, paramedics, firemen, policemen, soldiers, postmen… what about the cleaners, cooks, waiters, farmers, farm hands?

As my friend said, these petrol truck drivers do a good job and deserve good pay & conditions, a little respect no doubt. But I think I also deserve a big pay rise too…!

No I didn’t pass a hard test and then do my job with dangerous material everyday but I qualified specifically for my job at ‘O’ level, ‘A’ level and HNC. I had to work hard every single day learning new skills and techniques; I have a bookshelf with thousands of pounds worth of technical manuals and I stress out every day because there are always new tasks I’m expected to do. I was up until 4am on Thursday doing work that could not be done during the 9-5 because of certain aspects of the nature of my job and I spent hours fretting gone midnight yesterday because a technical glitch left the company’s website unavailable – I had to stay up until the problem was sorted. No overtime for me.

So where’s my £36,000 a year basic salary? In fact isn’t there enough money in the country that everyone could have a £36,000 a year salary?

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