Panic at the pumps
PETROL stations around Manchester and Salford were running dry today as the possibility of a fuel drivers' strike continued, writes Daniel O'Donoghue and Samantha Warrington.
Some had run out of fuel as queues spilled over onto busy roads after the government advised motorists to take "sensible action" and fill tanks if they are half full.
Independent traders had been hit hard by the shortage.
Mr. Patel, 48, owner of the Gulf Petrol Station, on Broughton Lane, Salford, has not received a petrol delivery since last Sunday.
He said: “I’ve got no idea when the next delivery will be. I have been relying on people coming in for groceries, but I’ve lost my passing trade.
“ I think this is just another way for the government to take the mickey out of the public.”
Tesco, in Prestwich was not immune to the panic as cars backlogged.
Driver Lawrence Malch, 65, of Prestwich, said:“I think it’s mainly panic buying. We’re all going mad and we're all putting in more than we should.
“I come to Tesco every day and I haven’t seen it like this before.”
The supermarket was keen to reassure drivers this afternoon and said: "Customers are putting more fuel in their cars and we are experiencing an increase in sales in some areas, but customers can be reassured that the fuel supply chain is working hard to meet increased demand.”
Shell garage on Bury New Road, Prestwich, has been without fuel since yesterday afternoon.
Supervisor Nauman Khushnood said: “There’s a lot of confusion about this at the moment. It has been really busy for the past couple of days and customers have been asking what is going on.”
Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, was at the Lowry in Salford this afternoon and said: “Labour would like to see both sides of the dispute get round the table and negotiate.”
The Unite assistant general secretary, Diana Holland, echoed this and said:“Unite has said all along that we want a negotiated settlement through meaningful talks.
“We trust that the employers, and the supply chain, including oil majors, will engage with us and that the government will do everything in their power to help us avoid industrial action.”
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