The threat of a fuel delivery strike over Easter in the UK has been averted – but there were accusations of unnecessary panic-buying with long queues forming at service stations.
The Unite union called off a stoppage which could have caused severe shortages over one of the busiest weekends of the year.
EU rules on tanker drivers’ hours have been temporarily relaxed, raising the limit to 11 from nine a day, to help supplies to filling stations.
“I can tell people that the fuel companies are working flat out to resupply petrol stations. It is frustrating for people I know, when petrol stations are closed and when there are queues. But everything that can be done is being done, but it will take some time,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude suggested people store petrol in jerry cans at home – advice that was later withdrawn. The opposition accused the prime minister of ‘presiding over a shambles’.
The union says a strike could still happen after Easter if talks over drivers’ working conditions break down.