After the fuel crisis, a butchers crisis awaits Britain

After the fuel crisis, a butchers crisis awaits Britain
After the fuel crisis, a butchers crisis awaits Britain

Many British stations remained without fuel on Friday, after a chaotic week of panic buying, fistfights in station yards and drivers hoarding fuel in water bottles, as supply chains reached breaking point under the weight of a shortage of truck drivers.

The winds of chaos swept some economic sectors due to a shortage of labor in the wake of Britain’s exit from the European Union and the Corona pandemic, and the deliveries of fuel and medicine were disrupted and 150,000 pigs piled up on farms awaiting the fate of either slaughter or execution.

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 totally fed up. Why is this country not ready for anything?” 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.

“When will (the crisis) end? … the politicians are unable to do their jobs properly. The government should have prepared for this crisis. It’s all about incompetence and nothing else,” Oryachil added.

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 today, Friday, that 26 percent of stations are free of fuel, 27 percent have only one type in their tanks, and 47 percent have enough gasoline and diesel.

For their part, ministers say the shortage of truck drivers 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 they deny doubts about the country’s direction towards a “winter of anger” over shortages and blackouts.

Despite the shortage of drivers in other countries, the European Union member states have not experienced a shortage of fuel.

In the wake of a shortage of truck drivers that triggered a frenzy of panic buying, farmers are now warning of a new shortage of butchers and slaughterhouse workers that could result in the culling of up to 150,000 pigs.

EU pigs?

Britain’s pig farming sector has appealed to retailers to keep buying local pork rather than cheaper EU products, and said businesses would go bankrupt and livestock would be culled if producers did not get immediate subsidies.

Slaughtering is down 25 percent a week since August, after the pandemic and post-Brexit immigration rules combined to deal a blow to an industry already struggling to find labour, leading to a severe shortage of butchers and slaughterhouse workers.

The National Pig Sector Association said that despite attempts to persuade the government to relax immigration rules, efforts appeared to have reached a dead end.

Britain recently made changes that allow some foreign workers to enter for three months to drive trucks and fill gaps in the poultry sector.

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