LONDON, Oct. 1 (Reuters) – Britain will deploy nearly 200 military personnel, including 100 drivers, from Monday to help deliver fuel to service stations and help alleviate the shortage of truck drivers, the government announced. Friday.
Many UK gas stations were still dry on Friday after a chaotic week which saw panic buying, fights at the pump and drivers spilling fuel into water bottles after the acute shortage of truckers put the strained supply chains. Read more
Ministers in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government have insisted for days the crisis is easing or even over, but retailers have said more than 2,000 gas stations are dry and Reuters reporters in London and in southern England said dozens of pumps were still closed.
The government said military personnel are currently undergoing training at transport sites across Britain.
“As the situation stabilizes, our armed forces are there to fill critical vacancies and help keep the country on the move by helping the industry deliver fuel to the courtyards,” Defense Minister Ben Wallace said.
Last Sunday, the government announced a plan to issue temporary visas to 5,000 foreign truck drivers and 5,500 poultry workers to fill the shortages.
Some truck drivers said they would refuse the visas because the deadline was not long enough. Read more
The government tweaked those plans on Friday, introducing a tailor-made program to allow up to 300 tanker drivers to come to the UK immediately but on a temporary basis.
The 300, who are part of the 5,000, can work in the UK until the end of March 2022. The balance of the 4,700 will arrive from the end of October and will leave at the end of February 2022.
The government has said the 5,500 poultry workers will arrive from the end of October and can stay until the end of December.
“The introduction of these temporary and time-limited visa measures does not undermine our commitment to upgrade the skills and increase the wages of our national workforce, but is in recognition of the extraordinary ensemble of circumstances affecting the stability of the UK supply chain, “It said.
Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Aurora Ellis
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