Pumps run dry as four-day supply stoppage bitesThe number of filling stations that run dry because of tanker drivers’ industrial action is expecting to top 1000 today. The total that runs out is expected to rise dramatically as motorists fill-up on their return to work. And that number could double before the strike ends in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
The strike, which affected Shell stations primarily, was called by tanker delivery drivers demanding a 13% pay increase, a rise that would push their average wage to above £40,000 a year.
By mid-day yesterday, some 650 stations across the UK had run dry – that’s one garage in 14. Others introduced maximum purchases of £30, or even £10 as their supply tanks ran low.
There have been few signs of panic buying, however. Motors.co.uk’s own poll suggested only a minority of site users would fill-up because they feared that supplies locally would run dry.
As a result, fewer garages have been left without fuel than the strikers expected, and that makes the chances of a settlement more likely.
The tanker drivers’ union, Unite, has given notice that members may strike again from this Friday. But Unite has also agreed to talk to the supply companies’ management, saying settlement is now close.
Meanwhile, the soaring cost of oil on world markets could see petrol and diesel prices rise by another 5p this week. And if you are travelling to France or Spain by car, expect long delays at ports because lorry drivers have blockaded ports and motorways to protest at fuel costs. In Spain, driver’s protests have disrupted food supplies, leaving shops in some areas with empty shelves.
Sandi Arabia, one of the world’s main oil producing regions, has agreed to increase production by 200,000 barrels a day, but it is thought that may not be enough to steady prices.