The threat of strikes by fuel tanker drivers has been renewed after union representatives overwhelmingly rejected a proposed deal aimed at averting industrial action.

Unite, which said it was committed to a negotiated settlement, will now seek further talks with employers and has not named any strike dates.

About 60 representatives of drivers at seven haulage firms have been discussing proposals drawn up during six days of negotiations at the conciliation service Acas.

The dispute is over a series of issues including terms and conditions, pensions and health and safety and flared up last month after Unite announced that drivers in five companies had backed strikes.