Jet garages across the UK are facing fuel shortages this spring as JW Suckling Transport tanker drivers ballot for industrial action in a longstanding pay dispute.

The 30-plus drivers, who are members of Unite, are based at depots in Essex, West London and Grangemouth. The drivers undertake work as part of the Phillips 66 contract, which supplies fuel to Jet Garages.

Unite said that despite extensive negotiations, JW Suckling Transport has refused to increase the rates of pay of drivers on the contract so that they are comparable with drivers employed by other hauliers on the same contract. It claims that the drivers are paid over £5 less an hour than other drivers for undertaking the same work.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is outrageous that Suckling Transport is refusing to pay its drivers in line with what others receive for the same work on the same contract. This is clearly about boosting its profits at the expense of its workers.

“Unite is solely focussed on defending and enhancing its members’ jobs, terms and conditions and our members at Suckling Transport will receive the union’s total support.”

The ballot for industrial action opens on Thursday 9 February and closes on Thursday 9 March. If the workers vote to go on strike then industrial action could begin before the end of next month.

The strike action would affect fuel supplies to Jet Garages across Scotland and from Southampton to Norwich.

Nick West, a Unite regional officer who represents the Essex and West London drivers, said: “This dispute will inevitably result in severe disruption to fuel supplies to Jet garages but is entirely of Suckling Transport’s own making. It has had every opportunity to resolve this dispute through negotiations but has refused to do so.”

Lyn Turner, Unite regional officer for Scotland, who represents the drivers at Grangemouth, added: “It’s time for Suckling Transport to do the right thing and pay our members the same rate of pay that others receive for delivering the same product.

“In the last nine years our members at Grangemouth have only had two pay increases. Worker are at the end of their tether.”

A JW Suckling spokesman said: “We cannot comment at this time.”

Requests for comment from Jet owner Phillips 66 has yet to receive a response.