UK fuel-tanker drivers won't strike over Easter

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LONDON (AP) — A union representing British fuel tanker drivers on Friday ruled out the threat of strikes over Easter which had led to some panic-buying in parts of the country.

Unite, which represents around 2,000 tanker drivers, said it retains the right to call a strike if talks due to start next week break down.

The move came after the government had warned consumers to stock up at the pump ahead of any threatened strike, sending gasoline sales soaring as lines formed at gas stations.

In some parts of England the lines were so long that police ordered stations to close to ease congestion.

Britain's Petrol Retailers Association said that gasoline sales were up more than 170 percent on Thursday, while diesel sales were up almost 80 percent.

The government has come under attack from opposition politicians, who accused the ruling Conservative Party of inflaming the situation by encouraging consumers to stock up on fuel after days of negative headlines over party donors and controversy over the government's deficit-reduction plans.

Fuel delivery strikes have the potential to cause serious political damage in Britain, where gasoline prices are already among the highest in Europe.

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