Panic at the pumps as strike threat looms

Panic buying hit local petrol stations last week as motorists feared being caught up in threatened fuel tanker strikes.

Monday, 9th April 2012, 10:30 am

Drivers were expected to strike over Easter, but members of union Unite agreed to continue talks with Acas.

Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “We do still retain the right to call strike action for after Easter should those talks breakdown.

“It should be stressed that what we are seeking is reasonable and no more than what is in place elsewhere in the industry. There have been minimum standards governing the offshore oil industry since 2000 covering health and safety, training and terms and conditions.”

Some garages in North Kirklees saw fuel demand rocket. One station boss said he was completely dry of fuel. But for others it was business as normal.

Shaw Cross’ Jet garage suffered an early blow when a fuel delivery due last Thursday lunchtime failed to arrive owing to a tanker breaking down. Fortunately the delivery arrived later that evening.

Manager Chris Cundall said he would contemplate hiring extra staff if strikes were to happen.

“But it’s not good for business,” he added. “We might do well for a few days, but if the strike goes ahead and we’ve no fuel to sell it’s soon cancelled out.We have to order six days in advance of delivery and that takes no account of trends.”

At the Jet filling station in Savile Road, Dewsbury, staff said things were calm. Adamsons Texaco service station in Batley ran out of fuel last week. Imran Patel, manager of Shell’s Mirfield garage, said last Wednesday and Thursday had seen three times as many customers as usual at the pumps.

“We will bring in extra staff if necessary, but this situation must be sorted out. People are really panicking at the moment,” he said.

Driver Joy Wilson said: “I haven’t filled up yet, but I am getting concerned. I hope there’s some left for me as I have got some visits to make across the county.”

Tony Ridley was less concerned. He said: “My wife and I run two cars, one’s full and the other’s half full – it should see me into next month. I’m not too worried, we will restrict our journeys if needs be.”