The panic-buying fiasco the politicians have created has overshadowed what the dispute and potential strike is actually about. From Unite‘s website:
This is not about pay, it is about ensuring that high safety and training standards are maintained. It is about bringing fairness and stability back to an industry that is controlled by faceless global giants.
I would expect that the £45,000 earnings of the drivers was also released in some way to divert attention from their actual issues and discredit their dispute.
Don’t get me wrong: I would be very happy to earn that much money in a year. It’s far more than what I currently earn. But if I had poor training and health and safety conditions, and pay-rises frozen due to the financial crisis; while oil companies continue to rake in overwhelming profits, I’d probably be a bit pissed off too.
And for the politicians on each side to continue to use this whole event for PR is despicable. Labour using it to call for Francis Maude’s resignation and a general bashing of the coalition. Tories using it to divert attention away from the bad PR of kitchen dinners and a regressive budget.
And it all boils down to one thing. They are fighting so hard and shouting so loud to drown out the other, that no one is listening to what the people – you know, the ones they’re there to represent – need and want.
Listening to David Cameron blame the drivers for causing panic and chaos for the population around the Easter holidays was yet another chance to prove that. The tanker drivers’ dispute is not about pay. At no point did they call a strike or even threaten to call a strike on Easter weekend. They did not tell people to keep topping up their fuel or store fuel in jerry cans. In fact, the whole think had very little publicity until the budget.
I do not resent the drivers for their dispute, but I do resent the price I pay for putting fuel in my car.
Living in a rural area with few public transport options, I rely on my car. If the government really want some good publicity, perhaps they should look into reducing the duty we pay on fuel, or making public transport a more viable option.