By Daniel Hunter

Unite the union has said that a potential strike by fuel tanker drivers has been averted after drivers narrowly voted to accept a deal.

Drivers from seven haulage firms backed the deal by 51% overall, while drivers in four of the companies voted to reject it.

“It’s good to see that, in the end, cool heads prevailed and the dispute was settled by negotiation," Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment policy, said.

“The employers involved made clear their commitment to addressing health and safety concerns.”

The news means that the strike, which would have caused mass disruption to the economy at a time it could least afford it, will now not go ahead.

However, there was criticism of the situation despite the resolution, due to the panic buying that swept the nation.

"This narrow vote in favour lifts the threat of strike action but leaves the companies with no room for complacency," Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said.

"The progress made through negotiation is testament to the brave stance members have taken in the face of growing insecurity and attacks on their profession."

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