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Revealed: Fuel strike leader earns thousands more than his union members … and he’ll be on £50,000 if they win
By Christopher Leake
Last updated at 11:32 AM on 15th June 2008
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Driving a hard bargain: ‘Red’ Ted Morgan on the picket line in Essex yesterday

The left-wing union firebrand leading the fuel tanker strike already earns £4,000 a year more than his members will receive — even if their pay demands are met.

‘Red’ Ted Morgan is one of only two tanker drivers who 16 years ago rejected a £17,000 lump sum payout in return for a 25 per cent cut in their wages when Shell contracted out its delivery business to private firms.

The deal means he is now on £45,000 a year, in contrast to the other 641 men involved in the four-day strike, who are on an average of £36,500.

If the two haulage firms at the centre of the row pay the full 13 per cent rise Mr Morgan’s union, Unite, is demanding, his annual wage will leap to £50,850 while his drivers — who plan a second four-day walkout on Friday — would get £41,245.

Mr Morgan’s salary would outstrip the £50,000 earned by a British Army Major or the £48,000 paid to a police chief inspector; while his drivers would be on more than twice the salaries paid to junior hospital doctors, who receive £20,000, and newly qualified secondary school teachers, who are paid £19,000.

Sources close to talks at the conciliation service ACAS said that during six months of negotiations Mr Morgan, 45, had always refused to shift an inch on the original union claim.

The talks finally broke down on Thursday, prompting shortages at the pumps as motorists began to panic-buy petrol despite Government pleas.

Mr Morgan, who spends most of his week driving a tanker but is given time off for union duties, is Unite’s national representative negotiating the Shell contract on behalf of drivers working for the haulage firms J.W. Suckling and German-owned Hoyer UK.

Yesterday, Mr Morgan refused to comment when approached by The Mail on Sunday on a 15-strong picket line outside Shell’s Coryton oil refinery in Essex.

One in nine filling stations could be dry by tomorrow, experts warn

He demanded to know ‘who were the muppets’ this newspaper had sent earlier to interview him at the £300,000 detached house at Vange, near Basildon, Essex, where he lives with his wife Denise and their only child.

Mr Morgan, who drives a Ford Mondeo while his wife drives a Ford Ka, also refused to discuss why he holds 400 Shell shares worth more than £8,000 — a stake in the very firm the dispute now threatens.

The strike begins to bite: Petrol stations across the country have started to run dry as drivers ignore calls not to ‘panic buy’

Last night, as motorists faced misery, with some petrol stations closing and others running low, another 150 truckers blockaded the M6 in the North-West in a separate dispute over the rising cost of fuel.

Public opinion appeared to be turning against the strikers in the Shell dispute.

One post on a website said: ‘There is no need for such strike action. These drivers are highly paid compared to individuals who are well educated and do not earn anywhere near as much as the salaries they are striving for. This in my opinion is pure greed!’

Another said: ‘I would rather walk than let over-paid van drivers hold me to ransom.’

Bryan Wheeler, from Gloucestershire, said: ‘How can a small number of greedy individuals be allowed to inconvenience the public in this manner? Shell should consider placing their contract for deliveries elsewhere.’

On the BBC website, Alan Palmer from Leamington Spa revealed there were 30-minute queues for petrol at all the town’s garages yesterday.

The picket line at the Stanlow Oil Refinery in Cheshire

‘John’, from Keynsham near Bristol, said: ‘I hope the tanker drivers appreciate the fire, police and ambulance services, who are more highly trained and certainly have riskier jobs.

‘Staff nurses, teachers, non-commissioned officers in the Armed Forces, refinery workers and midwives all get less than these greedy people. No one thinks they get paid enough, but most are not actually so greedy.’

‘Red Ted’ Morgan is thought to have lived in Middlesbrough, and left school with a number of A-levels before joining the Army.

He moved to Essex to become a tanker driver for Shell in the late Eighties before becoming a shop steward.

A fellow tanker driver said: ‘He’s known as Red Ted, more because of his red hair, though he does have socialist views.

‘He’s very intelligent — not many people can get something past him. I’m sure the management people would prefer to have him on their side.’

The tanker drivers work a 43-hour week on average, doing an extra shift every fortnight, but they are home on most days by 4pm because of their early-morning starts.

Yesterday, empty petrol stations began to close across the country. Remote areas in the South-West were particularly badly hit by shortages, with garages in Devon and Cornwall closing for business by mid-morning.

Pumps also ran dry in London, Leicester, Merseyside, Swansea and the Wirral.

Last night, fuel supplies in Glasgow were said to be dangerously low, as petrol stations in the Strathspey area of Scotland, along the A9, as well as others in Aviemore, Newtonmore and Ayr said they were running dry.

Meanwhile, in the dispute over the rising price of fuel, hundreds of lorries staged ‘go-slow’ protests on several motorways, causing delays for other drivers.

In the M6 protest, more than 150 trucks and other vehicles crawled along the motorway for 60 miles between Warrington and Carnforth in Lancashire.

Fifty other hauliers staged a protest on connecting motorways, including the M56 and M62.

Tony Burridge, 50, who organised the protest on the M6, said the demonstration was the biggest protest on the motorway since fuel crisis of 2000.

He said: ‘We are hoping the strength of feeling shown during today’s go-slow will persuade the Government to reduce fuel duty.

‘I am confident that if enough people take a stand the Government will realise that the rising cost of fuel is intolerable for ordinary working people and their families.’

In Hampshire, more than 100 tractors inched along the busy A31, with passing motorists sounding their horns in support.

Farmer Bruce Horn, who organised the protest, said the price of agricultural red diesel had almost doubled in the past year from 38p a litre to 65p.

He said: ‘We need to take this action. We want the Government to abolish the proposed 2p increase in duty in October and give some of its profits back.’

Government sources said that at noon yesterday 112 out of 8,700 petrol stations had closed. Demand in the past 24 hours was 25 per cent higher than the same period last week, but down on the previous 24 hours.

Advice to motorists from the Department for Business was: ‘Just buy what you need
Thomas, der German Tank Engine …

He’s known as ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ in his native Germany because of the vast empire of tankers, which has personally made him £35million.

Although little known in the UK, Thomas Hoyer employs 500 of the 641 British drivers striking for a 13 per cent pay deal.

Yesterday, the normally flamboyant 57-year-old refused to answer questions, telling The Mail on Sunday’s reporters to ‘go away’ at his £2million mansion in Hamburg’s exclusive Goerne Strasse where he lives with his Australian-born wife Penelope, 55. They have two daughters Harriet, 21, and Lucinda, 24.

Mrs Hoyer is on the city’s social A-list. She regularly meets wives of other influential corporate movers and shakers for high-end fashion or jewellery shows.

Her husband once came home to find her reading the Koran with a group of Nigerian princesses.

Mr Hoyer, who is close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her predecessors Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schroeder, wears £2,000 suits and £120 shirts and has a collection of rare Burgundy wines.

The family firm has its origins in the Hamburg milk wholesalers formed by his grandfather, Bruno, in 1922. In 1946, Thomas’s father, Walter, set up the modern company, which then expanded into transporting liquid latex, acid, chemicals and fuel. Today it employs 4,600 workers worldwide.

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Comments (32)
Here’s what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below?

The whole oil business leaves a bad taste in the mouth, greed is a decease.(: departure from life : DEATH –decease intransitive verb de·ceased; ) Prick can’t even spell.

Sounds to me that this Ted Morgan is a far sighted chap.
if he could reject £17,000 all those years ago and now his pay is that much higher it shows he knew what he was doing, I should think he is a good negotiator for the Union Members.
I wouldn’t want to drive one of those tankers.

  • John Sizeland, Norfolk, 15/6/2008 08:11
  • Chris, Wirral U.K., 15/6/2008 08:15

Sensible lad. Thought things through. Many took the lump sum and now regret it. This boy is ahead of the game by a long way. One to watch!

  • JD, plymouth, 15/6/2008 08:12


  • name, townAndCountry, creationDate
    Revealed: Fuel strike leader earns thousands more than his union members … and he’ll be on £50,000 if they win
    I Their take on the tanker drivers.
    I wrote FU DM !!

Name: Email: Your email address will not be published Town & Country: My comments: £50K !!! Almost as much as an MP’s monthly expences!!!i
This is filtered thru the best wine I have had for a long time. :laughing: :