Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Sunday, 15 June 2008 17:07 UK

More stations running out of fuel

Closed petrol station
On Sunday 647 petrol stations were out of standard fuels

More petrol stations have run out of fuel as Shell tanker drivers take part in the third day of industrial action.

By lunchtime on Sunday just over 7% of petrol stations had no unleaded or diesel fuel compared with just over 1% on Saturday, the government said.

Demand for fuel was up by about a third on Saturday compared with the previous Saturday, a spokesman added.

The drivers have confirmed they are to hold a second four-day stoppage as part of their pay dispute next weekend.

On Sunday, 647 petrol stations out of 8,700 in England, Scotland and Wales were out of the standard fuels, compared with 112 on Saturday, a spokesman for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said.

But the Petrol Retailers Association says motorists now know supplies will not run out.

Shell runs one in 10 of the country's fuel stations, but industry sources suggest its market share could be up to 17%.

Tightest supply

Supply is reportedly tightest in south-west and north-west England and central Scotland.

  • Texaco said it was "bearing up and coping" and that between 30 and 40 of its stations around the country had run out of some kind of fuel grade, most commonly either unleaded or petrol.

  • Esso said some of its three fuel grades may have run out at some of its sites, but that it was working "round the clock" to keep up deliveries. It also asked for people to only buy what fuel they needed.

  • BP said it did not have any major reports of fuel "stocking out" but that demand remained high and it was continuing to monitor the situation.

    The Scottish government said figures north of the border showed fewer than 1% of filling stations had run dry and demand from consumers remained normal.

    There have been reports of some patchy shortages of diesel on stretches on the A9. Sites in Inverness have also reported some shortages of diesel, while some forecourts in Aviemore are rationing sales to customers.

    THE SHELL PAY STRIKE
    The striking drivers work for two companies, Hoyer UK and Suckling Transport, contracted to Shell
    Industrial action began when pay talks broke down this week
    The companies say unions rejected a pay offer taking the drivers' average salary to 41,500 by January 2009
    But the Unite union says the offer would have increased salaries from just under 32,000 to 36,000
    The drivers are planning a second four-day stoppage next week if the dispute is not settled

    Petrol stations in parts of Wales saw some panic buying, with customers filling up jerry cans with fuel.

    Jason Evans, a sales assistant at EC Ashton & Sons petrol station in Welshpool, mid-Wales, said customers have been limited to a maximum 20 of fuel.

    "There have been a lot of queues today and yesterday around lunchtime and late morning," he said.

    "The 20 limit was introduced so nobody can go crazy and spend loads. Before it we had people buying 80 to 100 of fuel by filling up jerry cans."

    The striking drivers work for two companies, Hoyer UK and Suckling Transport, contracted to Shell.

    'Significant gap'

    Industrial action began when pay talks broke down earlier this week, with the companies saying unions rejected a pay offer taking the drivers' average salary to 41,500 by January 2009.

    But the Unite union says the offer would have increased salaries from just under 32,000 to 36,000.

    Bernie Holloway, director of the Hoyer Group - one of the two Shell contractors which employ the drivers - said there was a significant gap between what the union was asking for and what the company could afford to pay.

    "The drivers have started out with a claim for 13%, our latest offer of 7.3% would take their average earnings from current levels of around 36,500 up to around 39,000," he told the BBC.

    "I would have thought in normal circumstances that would have settled most deals, I mean we think that is a very attractive offer, so it is very difficult for us to move further."

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged both sides of the dispute to resume negotiations, adding that contingency plans were in place to minimise the effects of the walkout.




    SEE ALSO
    Tanker drivers plan more strikes
    14 Jun 08 |  Scotland
    Talks to avert tanker strike fail
    11 Jun 08 |  Business
    Drivers warned against fuel panic
    10 Jun 08 |  Business
    Talks over Shell driver pay fail
    05 Jun 08 |  Business

    RELATED INTERNET LINKS
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    Sunday Mirror Tanker drivers plan another strike as petrol pumps run dry - 22 mins ago
    CNN Strikes spread across globe - 48 mins ago
    Mirror Tanker drivers plan another strike as petrol pumps run dry - 1 hr ago
    Andover Advertiser Motorists face more fuel disruption - 1 hr ago
    The Scotsman Motorists face more fuel disruption - 1 hr ago



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