Fuel tanker drivers at seven companies have voted to go on strike. 69 per cent of the drivers voted in favour of the strike.
80 per cent of members turned out to vote.
Trade union Unite says that its 2,000 members make up 90 per cent of drivers delivering petrol in the UK.
The companies affected are: Wincanton, DHL, Hoyer, BP, JW Suckling, Norbert Dentressangle and Turners.
The firms deliver fuel for about 11 oil companies supplying forecourts across the UK. Strike action could hit the petrol pumps of household names such Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, BP, Esso and Shell, as well as airports.
The union says that employers have been slashing drivers’ terms and conditions and cutting corners on training and safety in a bid to win contracts.
The government has indicated that it would be prepared to bring in the army to deliver fuel of the strike goes ahead.
Unite national officer, Matt Draper, said: “The professionalism of tanker drivers is at stake. We should not accept a lowering of standards so that the oil companies can maximise their profits.
“Four of the top global oil companies posted combined profits of a staggering £106 billion in 2011. Yet, drivers are suffering a contract merry-go-round, with their working conditions under constant attack.”
Unite has also created a film, in which it says “minimum standards must be established across the board, and that competition should be based not on price, but on reliability, safety, and service delivery.”