by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
London, UK, March 26, 2012 : In the event of a possible strike by fuel tanker drivers the British government is intending to use military personnel to deliver fuel to gas stations.
Four hundred soldiers are ready to drive lorries from refineries should oil tanker drivers vote to strike after the ballot of 2,000 workers today, Monday 26, 2012, supported by the Unite union.
Maude said the government has “learned the lessons of the past and stand ready to act to minimize disruption to motorists, to industry and to our emergency services in the event of a strike,” he is quoted to having said.
Coalition Ministers are determined not to see a repeat of the widespread disruption caused in 2000, when garages, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and airports were badly hit, catching the Labour Government unawares.
Ministers are ready to use emergency powers to keep such vital services open. They will use police to stop any threatened blockade by striking drivers, and this week they will start assembling a squad of up to 300 qualified Army lorry drivers to replace the tanker drivers if necessary.
Motorists will be urged to keep their tanks topped up, though Ministers stress there is no need to panic.
300 drivers making up for possible 2,000 drivers going on strike will hardly make much of an impact in trying to keep things moving and even less so if they have to use the military's own fleet of tankers which are much small, holding less fuel per tanker.
Therefore problems are going to arise should a strike happen and motorist best be prepared not just to keep their tanks topped upp but also to make contingencies to use alternatives to their usual modes of transportation. Time to dust off the old bicycle in the garage.
This is yet a further militarization of our society by using the armed forces to break legitimate labor disputes.
What is going to come next? One can but asked but does one really dare.
My worst fears are that that is not going to stop at this time only but that we are going to be seeing more of this if discontent due to rising living costs and falling real term wages continue.
Then again, this may just be what the government is actually looking for to give it a reason to militarize things further still.
Considering that we are in the year of the Olympics in London where demonstrations have been declared, basically, acts of terrorism, the same could be, no doubt, applied to strikes of, especially, “essential” workers and services.
We have begun to go down a slippery slope and we could just be looking at, as I have indicated, further militarization of the home front.
It is rather strange that the UK is looking at such contingencies when just recently the President of the Unites States, Barack Obama, has signed an Executive Order militarizing the country basically.
Food for thought, methinks...