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THE FIRST salvo of the next road transport pay round has been fired, with the Transport and General Workers Union having lodged an undisclosed wage claim for its Mobil tanker drivers.
Talks are due to take place this month, with a target of a May 1 settlement which, if previous years' negotiations are followed, will be regarded as a benchmark for next winter's claims to the four major oil 'companies, Shell, BP, Texaco, and Esso.
Last year, Mobil drivers ended with a slightly higher basic rate of £116.55 for top grade drivers, against £113.50 for the other companies, but Mobil insists that its drivers, in fact, earn less overall than the others, once productivity payments are included.
A Mobil spokesman said that the company anticipated that it would conduct this year's talks without any reference to other companies' experience, and said he was optimistic about the May deadline being met.