Strike may prompt panic buying in Britain

April 21, 2008 at 1:23 PM

STIRLINGSHIRE, Scotland, April 21 (UPI) -- A two-day work stoppage scheduled in Scotland could be the catalyst for panic gasoline buying throughout Britain, various sources said.

Up to 1,200 Grangemouth Oil Refinery workers have scheduled a strike for April 27-28 to protest proposed cuts in their pension plans, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

Union organizers have accused Ineos Refinery Chief Executive Officer Calum Maclean of "economic terrorism" by saying the country's economy would shut down if workers struck.

A company spokesman denied the threat was made.

But a lobbying group plans to take advantage of the rising tensions. People's Fuel Lobby spokesman Co-Chairman Mark Francis said the group is planning a series of protests over new gas taxes. The group has planned the protests to coincide with the oil refinery shut down.

Francis said he hoped the actions would be "big, if not bigger" than widespread panic buying that occurred in 2000.

"We are getting taxed to the hilt to pay for unnecessary spending by this government," he said.

Scottish Motor Trade Chief Executive Officer Douglas Robertson urged people to "follow their normal routine."

Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney said the situation was "perfectly possible to resolve by negotiations and by dialogue."

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