Thursday, 29 March 2012

Tory Cause Fuel Panic

With a fuel strike coming soon now is not the time for government ministers to wobble about causing panic over the threatened fuel strike.

They advised people to hoard jerrycans of fuel then backtracked. I remember the strike in 1990 when people did run put of fuel, petrol stations rationed customers while a few fools stored petrol in their bathtub! Its very dangerous, only use proper jerry cans and not stored in a house or car.

I have seen queues forming in petrol stations around reading today but not yet panicking or rationing.

Tories may want us all to think all strikes are about pay but this one is tanker drivers wanting to keep their industry safe. I expect a usual Labour and LD to follow the Tory line of condeming the strike bit it seems the unions are behaving reasonable to me. Its Tories and their LabLD friends being fuelish.

Strike background from;

The trade union Unite says the strike ballot is about safety standards and terms and conditions. The union says the industry is too "fragmented" and wants a "national forum" which would hold the employers to account over conditions. It claims some workers have had their contracts repeatedly renegotiated and some have had six different pension providers in 10 years. Unite also says shorter delivery deadlines have created a "turn and burn" culture. Unite insist the dispute is not about pay. How many drivers are affected? Unite represents 2,062 tanker drivers. How many petrol stations will be affected? The seven companies involved - Wincanton, DHL, BP, Hoyer, J W Suckling, Norbert Dentressangle and Turners - are responsible for supplying 90% of the UK's 8,706 petrol stations. They also supply the country's airports. Workers at DHL and JW Suckling voted against strike action but backed action short of a strike. What contingency plans are in place? There are plans to put military personnel through an eight-day training course to
enable them to take the place of striking drivers behind the wheel of commercial tankers. The BBC has learned that more than 80 "highly qualified" drivers from the Royal Air Force will begin initial training at one oil haulage firm on Wednesday. How much fuel is in reserve? It is not clear, but during the last strike in 2000 the amount in reserve quickly ran out and petrol stations soon started running dry. Unite claims petrol stocks could run out "within 48 hours of a strike beginning". Who would get priority if fuel starts to run out? Unite has said it is "committed to ensuring that all emergency services are not affected by action". What is a jerrycan? Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude referred to these, advising motorists to keep one filled with fuel in their garage. These were originally made from steel and used by the military to hold 20 litres of fuel. How much fuel can legally be stored in a domestic garage? The HSE gives the limit as a maximum of two suitable metal containers of 10 litres and two plastic containers of an approved design, each having a maximum capacity of five litres - this is little more than a third of an average tank.

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