(London) Nurses, delivery men, teachers … Faced with fuel shortages in the UK, professionals on Tuesday called on the government to act to allow them to refuel, despite signs of a gradual return to calm after several days of high tension.
Posted on Sep 28, 2021 at 6:59 am Updated at 11:44 am
Pauline FROISSART Agence France-Presse
“If it’s like yesterday, I’ll run out of fuel,” worried Divyesh Ruparelia, a 58-year-old taxi driver who couldn’t refuel on Monday.
Since some dealers announced that they were closing outlets due to a lack of truck drivers to deliver fuel, long queues have formed in front of gas stations, leading to fights between motorists on the streets.
This exceptional situation, the latest consequence of the labor shortage caused by the pandemic and Brexit, prompted the government to request the army on Monday evening to intervene “if necessary” to transport the fuel.
Medical, nurse, and prison staff organizations want key employees to have priority access to gas stations, many of which are dry.
“We can’t stand in line for two or three hours when we have patients to see,” David Wrigley, vice president of the British Medical Association, stormed SkyNews.
Some schools are considering moving back to distance learning when teachers cannot attend schools.
The government must “contract” in the face of the fuel crisis and use emergency powers to reserve the use of certain gas stations for key workers, said Unison, a leading public sector organization in the country.
The government repeats time and time again that the UK is not short of fuel, but the shortage is due to exceptional demand caused by purchases by consumers worried about running out, as is the case with toilet paper or certain products was.
He assures that the shortage of truck drivers who have interrupted the supply of certain stations is the origin of the panic movement of the weekend, is mainly explained by the training delays recorded during the pandemic and affects the whole world. However, he admitted on Tuesday that Brexit was an additional “factor”.
In light of the crisis, he urged army drivers to prepare to deliver fuel to gas stations if necessary. They receive special training before they are deployed.
To solve recruitment problems and attract more foreign truck drivers, the government has temporarily relaxed visa requirements.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps wanted to calm down and called on Tuesday “the first tentative signs of a stabilization of gas station stocks”. “The sooner we can all return to our normal shopping habits, the sooner the situation will normalize,” he said, condemning motorists who fill up gasoline bottles.
The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents 65% of British petrol stations, also saw “early signs” of the end of the crisis at the pumps.
“Some of our members say they have more fuel shipments,” she said in a statement. Inventories in refineries and terminals are still “normal,” she said, adding that 37% of their gas stations are out of fuel, according to a survey of members on Tuesday.
The estimated 100,000 driver shortage has been going on for several months due to the combined pandemic and Brexit, with Labor accusing Boris Johnson’s Tory administration of “falling asleep at the wheel” and failing to intervene early enough.
Delivery problems also affect the shelves of supermarkets, fast food restaurants, pubs and others, complaining about delivery delays and exhausted stocks of certain products.