Fuel panic buyers offer their opinions on the crisis
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Edwin Atema, head of enforcement and research at the Dutch-based FNV union, claimed EU workers would not return on visas to “help UK out of the s**t they created themselves!” The distasteful rant came as many UK petrol stations ran dry in the wake of supply issues. A shortage of HGV drivers has disrupted the transportation of fuel from refineries to forecourts and has triggered widespread panic-buying from motorists.
In an attempt to alleviate the crisis, the Government confirmed plans to issue 5,000 temporary three-month visas to foreign drivers.
Mr Atema took the in-direct swipe at Brexit during an interview with Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday.
He claimed EU workers would rather stay on the continent, but at the same time acknowledged the labour issues in the industry began even before the UK left the European Union.
The intervention from the Dutch haulier has sparked a furious reaction from a number of Express.co.uk readers and many let their feelings known in the comments section of a previous story.
Simonh wrote: “What wonderful friends they were.”
Salfordian added: “Keep crying EU people the money has stopped.”
Seafort said: “You sure do find out who your actual friends are when a Remoaner made ‘crisis’ comes around.
“I’ll cross the Dutch off the UK friends list.”
Jockie1 commented: “I didn’t see him complaining when this country was giving billions into the EU coffers, sounds a bit like sour grapes.
“Maybe we need to start eating local cheese instead of Dutch and grow your own flowers. We are out of the EU, accept it.”
Meanwhile, Geoffi wrote: “So he managed to contradict himself by blaming Brexit and saying the issues are historical. Jolly good.
“Now I finally understand what Double-Dutch means.”
A shortage of HGV drivers has also troubled many European countries and been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Many EU nationals left the UK during the COVID-19 crisis and ongoing travel restrictions have deterred many from coming back.
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The UK finally left the EU in January and more than five million EU citizens applied to stay in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The Government announced its temporary visa programme over the weekend to deal with the shortage of HGV drivers.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Atema said: “The EU workers we speak to will not go to the UK for a short term visa to help UK out of the s**t they created themselves!”
Despite attacking Brexit, the union chief said the haulage industry was already in trouble “long before” the UK left the EU and the Covid pandemic.
He said: “Pay is an important area but it is not the only area. Long before the Coronavirus and Brexit, this industry was sick already.
“Plagued by exploitation by irresponsible multinationals who dragged down prices which ended up with drivers voting with their feet and gently leaving the industry.
“Heaven was offered to these drivers but it ended up to be hell for these drivers.”
The Government has announced a series of measures to deal with the HGV shortage, including increasing the number of available tests.
The Army has been put on standby to help with the fuel crisis and in a statement, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, urged drivers to return to normal buying patterns.
It added: “As many cars are now holding more fuel than usual, we expect that demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, easing pressures on fuel station forecourts.”
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