The threat of a tanker driver strike could now be averted, as the Unite union and fuel distribution companies reach agreement over a new set of proposals.

Unite has also been given an extended industrial action mandate of 21 May to allow it time to discuss the new proposals with its 1,200 tanker driver members.

Peter Harwood, Acas chief conciliator, who has been heading up the negotiations, says: “Following a further two days of intensive discussions, a final set of proposals has been produced by the fuel distribution contractors and Unite. The industrial action mandate has been extended to 21 May 2012 to enable Unite to consult with its Oils Trade Conference and the membership on these proposals.”

Details of the proposals will remain confidential until all parties have reported back to their organisations, after which they may be disclosed.

Harwood adds: "Acas would like to thank the parties for their commitment, hard work and patience during the course of these difficult negotiations and hope that these proposals will lead to a successful outcome."

The talks originally commenced on 4 April following a vote for national strike action announced on 26 March from Unite tanker drivers, which supply fuel to around 90% of UK fuel courts – about 7,900 petrol stations.

Firms involved in the talks include Norbert Dentressangle, Wincanton, Turners (Soham), Hoyer, BP and  DHL (which voted against strike action).