Home Business NewsBusinessAutomotive Fuel Crisis: Drafting army and EU HGV drivers will not ‘help UK out of the s**t they created’ warns union

Fuel Crisis: Drafting army and EU HGV drivers will not ‘help UK out of the s**t they created’ warns union

by Mark Fitt Political Journalist
27th Sep 21 11:07 am

The industry has warned that drafting in the army and allowing EU HGV drivers into the UK with a three month visa will not end the fuel crisis.

Thousands of petrol forecourts across the country have run out of fuel and are closed and the Prime Minister is considering bringing in the army to drive oil tankers.

This comes as there has been panic buying which has seen queues stretching miles in some areas.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) chairman Brian Madderson said that military personnel have had some training “in the background.”

However, he warned this is not an “absolute panacea” as there is no “single lever” the government has to resolve the crisis.

Boris Johnson has announced that the government are to create 5,000 visas for foreign HGV drivers for three months to ease the pressure.

However, Edwin Atema from the Dutch FNV union, which represents drivers across the Europe, said Johnson’s offer of temporary visas will not be enough to attract drivers back to the UK.

Atema told the Today programme, “On the short-term I think that will be a dead end.

“So more is needed, and I think the EU workers we speak to will not go to the UK for a short-term visa to help UK out of the shit they created themselves.”

It has been reported that Johnson is holding a series of meetings to consider whether or not to activate Operation Escalin.

Madderson told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it is not a simple question of moving supplies to the forecourts, as being a lorry driver is a highly ‘skilled job’ as driver have to load up their tanks at the gantry at the terminal.

He said, “There has been training going on in the background for military personnel.

“But that’s perhaps just confined to moving the tanker by articulated truck from point A to point B.

“One of the difficulties is loading, and the tanker drivers currently load their own tanks at the gantry at the terminals, and then most are providing the delivery to the forecourt.

“This is a skilled job and we will be working with government and industry to see how we can best move it forward.”

Madderson hopes that oil companies will be able to find extra personnel to help with the gantry loading.

But he added, “It’s not an absolute panacea.

“There is no one single lever that is going to be pulled by government and industry together which is going to sort this situation. It’s a matter of small levers, each contributing a little going forward.”

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the haulage industry had been warning for months about the shortage of drivers, but MPs have quite simply ignored them.

She told ITV’s Good Morning Britain, “Since last year I have been meeting and talking with the Road Haulage Association and hauliers about some of the problems coming down the line.

“The government ignored those problems, which is why we are now facing the situation where people go to the supermarkets and see shortages of goods on the shelves, and why they are queuing up at petrol stations and not being able to fill up their tank.

“That is not acceptable, this is an out-of-touch and complacent government.”

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