Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today hit out at news that the big supermarket chains are increasing petrol and diesel prices at the pump as a response to refinery closures and a strike by a group of tanker drivers – including local drivers at distribution company Wincanton based at Stockton-on-Tees.
Tom said “According to what I have been told by both the RAC and the AA, the big supermarket chains have put up to 1p a litre on the price of diesel and unleaded petrol and that, on average across the UK, diesel has risen to 142.32p (from 142.21p) per litre and is now within a fraction of a new record. Petrol has risen to 134.03p per litre (from 133.89p).
This is sheer profiteering and is based on scare stories that there may be a fuel shortage – scare stories that are driving people to fill up their tanks.
The reality is that Petroplus is in administration, and the administrators are working flat out to find a new buyer to resume production. In terms of the Wincanton drivers dispute, the onus is clearly on the company to withdraw their plans to cut wages by up to 20%. According to my research this firm saw its profits soaring by £0.5 billion last year – a 37% increase on 2009, and that directors pay has increased by £500,000 – 41.7%. Given this, it is little wonder that the strike ballot was won by a margin of 83%. Wincanton should withdraw the pay cut threat and instead sit down with their drivers and their union to settle the dispute.
All of this just shows how the ordinary public – who need their cars to get from A to B – are being ripped off by big business.”