FUEL has run dry at pumps across the Capital, with queues of drivers filling up their tanks ahead of a threatened strike by UK tanker drivers.
Several forecourts announced they had run out of diesel completely while others reported that one-day sales had doubled after the UK Government advised drivers to top up tanks with fuel, but “not panic”.
The warning came amid threats of industrial action by the Unite union’s 2000-strong membership, who are calling for minimum standards of working conditions and pay.
Staff at the Shell Garage in Seafield said they had exhausted supplies of standard petrol and diesel by around 2.30pm yesterday with many customers opting for the more expensive V-Power brand.
The forecourt of Asda at The Jewel pitched signs declaring “No diesel fuel available” while many other garages told of queues and high demand.
It was reported that the Tesco at Colinton had also run out of unleaded petrol.
One worker at the Shell garage in Dalry, who declined to be identified, said drivers had been “rushing and panic buying”.
“I haven’t seen many people filling up jerry cans but they are filling up their tanks,” he said. “We are getting a delivery of fuel tonight. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or if it will be as busy as this. If it keeps going I don’t know how long it will last for.”
Another staff member said: “We have sold almost double what we do normally. Supply is low but we will manage and are expecting a delivery.
Speaking yesterday at Seafield, a Shell employee said: “Today has been very busy. We just ran out of normal diesel and petrol. We have the V-Power still available but we are expecting a delivery of standard diesel and petrol by 6pm tonight.
“People are buying the V-Power even though it is more expensive. This is one of the busiest days this year.”
City transport convener, Councillor Gordon MacKenzie, said: “It’s clear people are looking to fill up their tanks and that’s understandable given that it looks like we could be in for a tanker strike. But we are not in that situation yet. If people are patient they will find that they can get fuel over the next couple of days so there’s not any need to panic.”
Following a Resilience Committee summit at Holyrood, a Scottish Government spokesman said any possible strike action would require “seven clear days’ notice” and could not occur “at the very earliest” until after the Easter weekend.
The spokesman said: “The Scottish Government will continue to build on the substantial contingency arrangements already in place on the areas where we have responsibility including public transport, emergency services, education and agriculture.”
Strike ‘not about the money’
TRADE union Unite has insisted the strike ballot is not about pay, but a dispute over safety standards and terms and conditions.
It represents more than 2000 tanker drivers, responsible for supplying 90 per cent of the UK’s petrol stations, and Unite says it wants a “national forum” which would hold employers to account over conditions.
There are plans to train military personnel to drive tankers in the event of a strike, as reserves are not expected to last – Unite has claimed petrol stocks would run out after just 48 hours.