Fleet of seven ships to dock at Scottish ports and keep forecourt supplies flowing.

As workers at Scotland’s Grangemouth refinery begin their second day of strike, feared petrol shortages resulting from their action have so far hit only isolated areas.

The Petrol Retailers Association reports that only a few filling stations in Scotland had run dry, although more were running low. And while some stations have imposed £20 maximums to restrict purchases, the word is that most drivers have resisted panic buying.

The strike, over pension arrangements for the refinery’s 1200 staff, ends today and union leaders have promised to give a week’s notice when they announce further action. But what’s happened so far has meant that Grangemouth has had to stop production and it will take several weeks to have the site running normally once more.

To maintain supplies, a fleet of seven fuel tankers is voyaging to Scotland, carrying about 10 days’-worth of supplies. Shutting Grangemouth is costing the UK economy an estimated £50m a day, half of which is lost tax income on fuel.

However, with neither workers union Unite nor refinery owners Ineos showing signs of solving the dispute, there is no quick end in sight.

Stephen Jury


April 28, 2008

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