Britain hit by drivers’ strike
Stir against plan to increase fuel tax
Lorry drivers joined by farmers on tractors deliberately drove slowly along busy British motorways yesterday in protest against government plans to increase the tax on fuel.
Elsewhere, fuel tanker drivers for one of Britain’s biggest energy firms went on strike for a second day after bosses failed to meet their wage demands.
British drivers, especially hauliers, are outraged at the government’s plan to hike fuel duty later this year despite above-inflation prices at the pump due to the record-high price of crude being traded on world markets.
Departing early yesterday under police escort from a small town in northwest England, up to 80 lorries along with vans, cars, motorbikes and a caravan, embarked on a 120-mile (192-kilometre) motorway roundtrip.
"We are hoping the strength of feeling shown during today’s go-slow will persuade the government to reduce fuel duty," said protest organiser Tony Burridge.
"I am confident that if enough people take a stand the government will realise that the rising cost of fuel is intolerable for ordinary working people and their families," he added.
A further 50 trucks and other vehicles took part in a separate go-slow from north Wales. The protesters headed in convoy along a motorway, past a refinery across the border in England that is owned by Royal Dutch Shell where fuel tanker drivers were striking.
Tanker drivers working for the Anglo-Dutch energy giant began a four-day walkout on Friday.
The strike led to drivers descending on garage forecourts yesterday as they rushed to fill up their vehicles’ tanks, despite government and industry pleas not to embark on panic-buying of fuel.
A spokeswoman for Shell said sales have been "very high but not extreme" and there were very few reports of petrol stations selling out.
"There are very few signs of panic-buying," she said.
The Petrol Retailers’ Association also said the situation was under control. A government spokesman said that 112 petrol stations had been forced to close out of 8,700 in total throughout Britain, with fuel demand going into the second day of the strike up 25 per cent.
The BBC’s website said readers had reported supply problems in Leicester, east central England; Cambridge, eastern England; northwest and southwest England; and parts of Scotland and Wales.
Garages in the far north of Scotland had run out of fuel, they added, while there was rationing and long queues elsewhere.
Meanwhile in the southern English county of Hampshire on Saturday, about 100 tractors, farm vehicles and lorries embarked on a go-slow fuel protest on a separate motorway.
"We are asking the government to abolish the threat of the 2p (two pence) per litre increase on fuel scheduled for October and to reduce tax on fuel," said Bruce Horn, from Farmers for Action.
What a waste of time...The government doesnt really give a crap about the public, just how much money they can screw out of them, whilst giving it to lazy workshy twats.