Downing Street has urged businesses and those that rely on their cars to make contingency plans for a fuel haulage strike. A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister David Cameron said there should be no panic buying for fuel but said “it’s prudent to have contingency plans in place.” Asked whether people should go to petrol station forecourts immediately she said “people will draw their own conclusions.”
The cabinet held talks on Tuesday about the possibility of strike action by Unite haulage drivers over Easter, in a dispute about conditions that has rekindled memories of the disruptive fuel strike in 2000. In an interview with the BBC’s Hardtalk programme, Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, refused to rule out the possibility that any strike would be held over Easter.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the government had "learnt the lessons" of the past and stood "ready to act" in case of a walkout. Training of army drivers will begin next week as part of contingency plans being drawn up to avoid major disruption to fuel supplies.Mr Maude said "we are calling on the trade union Unite and the employers involved to work together to reach an agreement that will avert industrial action, widespread strike action affecting fuel supply at our supermarkets, garages and airports could cause disruption across the country. The general public should not and must not suffer from this dispute, and strike action is manifestly not the answer."
Unite said the government should be putting pressure on oil companies.