March 30 - A petrol supply strike threat chokes up petrol stations amid panic buying on the eve of Easter break. Sunita Rappai reports.
A lengthy queue at this British petrol station - and frustration for many drivers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED DRIVER, SAYING: "I can't believe how many garages are now closed and out of fuel." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANOTHER UNIDENTIFIED DRIVER, SAYING: "I think people are just panicking, aren't they? Basically, that's all they're doing, just panicking." Fears over a possible strike by fuel delivery drivers have sparked panic buying at many petrol pumps, causing a shortage. British unions have now ruled out an Easter strike and are accusing the government of inflaming the crisis - after a cabinet minister told motorists to fill cans with petrol and store them at home. One woman who followed that advice set herself on fire in this house when petrol fumes ignited as she was transferring fuel between containers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) STATION MANAGER LEE SMITH FROM THE NORTH YORKSHIRE FIRE SERVICE, SAYING: "What I understand is that it was tea time at the property, people were cooking the evening meal. And the lady involved was also decanting petrol from a petrol can to a glass jug." (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARGOT JOHNSTON, A NEIGHBOUR OF THE BURN VICTIM, SAYING: "But really, she shouldn't have been doing that, should she. In the kitchen, with the gas cooker on, apparently." Motoring groups are urging consumers to stay calm. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT, EDMUND KING, SAYING: "There are plenty of supplies coming through. And if everyone followed their normal buying patterns rather than just topping up all the time, there would not be a shortage at all." The government is due to meet fuel delivery companies to discuss contingency plans for a possible strike. Sunita Rappai, Reuters