UK – The Transport & General Workers’ Union (T&G) today announced a five-day walk out by 74 BP oil tanker drivers due to the “increasingly bitter dispute” surrounding pension rights.

The strike will start on Friday and affects major depots countrywide, including Coryton in Essex, Stanlow in Merseyside, Grangemouth in Scotland, Dalston in Cumbria and Hamble in Hampshire.

All 74 drivers were transferred to BP from logistics firm Exel earlier this month. However, they were denied the continuation of their final salary pensions and offered BP’s money purchase scheme instead.

“If a final salary pension is good enough for BP boss Lord Browne, it’s good enough for our members,” said T&G national secretary Ron Webb.

“Maybe the fact that his petrol won’t be delivered to forecourts will wake him up.”

According to BP, none of their drivers have a final salary scheme. “We are just trying to bring them into line with the other workers,” said a spokesperson.

This “initial” five-day strike action follows weeks of unsuccessful negotiations, and will possibly include some picketing at the depots, according to a T&G spokesperson.

“BP is a disgrace quite frankly,” said Webb in a statement, which also outlined the fact that the petroleum giant has been profiting on the back of rising oil prices.

“Is this global multi-billion pound company really telling one of its most important groups of workers they cannot have a final salary pension? Is this company, which weighs its profits rather than counts them, pleading poverty? Nonsense,” Webb continued.

Final talks are due to be held on Wednesday, and T&G has urged BP to try and resolve these issues before the walk out starts.

BP has responded saying that they hope to resolve outstanding issues on Wednesday, but have made contingency arrangements to get petrol to the forecourts should the strike action go ahead.