Many stations in Britain were still without fuel, Friday, after a chaotic week of panic buying, fistfights in station yards, and drivers hoarding fuel in water bottles, as supply chains reached the breaking point under the weight of a shortage of truck drivers.
The winds of chaos swept through some economic sectors due to the lack of labor in the wake of Britain’s exit from the European Union, the “Corona” pandemic, and the delivery of fuel and medicine was disrupted, in addition to the butchers.
Although British ministers confirmed, days ago, that the crisis is on the way to receding or has already ended, retailers say that more than 2,000 gas stations are still completely empty of fuel. Reuters reporters across London and southern England said dozens of stations were still closed.
Queues of angry motorists extended again in front of gas stations that are still open in London.
“I’m quite fed up,” said Atta Oryakhil, a 47-year-old taxi driver from Afghanistan, whose car was number one in a long line of more than 40 cars. Why is this country not ready for anything?”
“When will (the crisis) end? … Politicians are unable to do their job properly,” Oryachil added. The government had to prepare for this crisis. It all boils down to inefficiency and nothing else.”
The man explained that he lost about 20 percent of his normal earnings this week, because he was spending time waiting for fuel instead of waiting for customers.
The Gas Station Owners Association said that its members reported, on Friday, that 26 percent of stations are free of fuel, 27 percent have only one type of fuel in their tanks, and 47 percent have enough gasoline and diesel.
For their part, ministers say the truck driver shortage is a global crisis, and they are trying to alleviate it in Britain. Ministers deny that the current situation is the result of the exodus of European Union workers after Britain’s exit from the bloc, and deny doubts about the country’s direction towards a “winter of anger” over shortages and power cuts.
Despite the shortage of drivers in other countries, the member states of the European Union have not experienced a shortage of fuel.
In the wake of a shortage of truck drivers, which triggered a frenzy of panic buying, farmers are now warning of a new shortage of butchers and slaughterhouse workers.
Slaughtering has been declining by 25% per week since August, after the pandemic and post-Brexit immigration rules combined to deal a blow to an industry already struggling to provide labour, which led to a severe shortage of butchers and slaughterhouse workers.