Diesel Supplies to Run Dry Soon

driving in reykjavík

Due to an ongoing strike among oil truck drivers, petrol supplies are quickly depleting at Reykjavík stations, and representatives of major stations anticipate that supplies of diesel fuel will soon run out, Vísir reports. The CEO of N1 told the outlet yesterday that the company’s stations will close “one after the other” in the coming days. He is particularly concerned about the situation that may arise after the weekend.

Wage negotiations remain at a standstill

There is still no progress in the wage dispute between the Efling union and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA); after Ástráður Haraldsson, the new temporarily-appointed state mediator, failed to inspire progress last weekend, members of the Icelandic Confederation of Enterprise (SA) voted to approve a lockout of some 20,000 workers. The lockout is set to begin on March 2 at noon.

Meanwhile, strikes among oil truck drivers – alongside employees at the Berjaya and the Edition hotels (in addition to the original 700 striking hotel workers and other labourers) – resumed last Sunday at midnight. Since then, petrol supplies have gradually begun to deplete.

Representatives of major stations anticipate that supplies of diesel fuel will run dry soon. The CEO of N1 told Vísir yesterday that the company’s petrol stations would close one after the other in the coming days. He also expressed particular concern over the situation that may arise after the weekend.

“The petrol situation is better, but with regard to diesel stocks, I fear that the situation will become difficult around or after the weekend … I really don’t want to imagine the situation after the weekend, but it will be serious.”

Many N1 employees are members of the Efling union. Regarding the planned lockout of SA, Hinrik stated that N1 employees were “not at all ready to stop working.”

Companies facing a similar situation

As reported by Vísir, other oil companies face a similar situation. The CEO of Olís told the outlet yesterday that the situation was “difficult” and that, in some cases, both diesel and petrol supplies had run out, or were about to run out, at some of the company’s largest stations.

Drivers can view Ólís’ inventory status at its various stations online.

As supplies slowly run dry, some drivers have resorted to hoarding fuel. Last week, a truck driver posted a video on Tik-Tok in which he filled huge plastic tanks with diesel fuel. The first reports suggested that the man had pumped approximately four thousand litres, but it now seems that the quantity was even greater. Such a thing is both illegal and highly dangerous,

Þórður Guðjónsson, CEO of Skeljungur, told Fréttablaðið yesterday that it was a matter of “grave” concern when drivers carry more fuel on board their vehicles than the law allows. He also maintained that records were broken at petrol pumps last week.

Lockout to have a greater impact than strikes

Þórður also told RÚV that the effect of SA’s lockout would be much greater than that of the strike. “Contractors who drive for us belong to Efling, and as a result, they will not be able to distribute anymore … as soon as the lockout begins, pretty much everything will come to a standstill.”

RÚV also noted that SA’s lockout would also have a major impact on oil companies’ service stations and lubrication and tire services, which the Efling strikes have thus far not disrupted.

Participation in lockouts “not optional”

SA issued a statement yesterday, stressing that the participation of companies in the lockout was not optional. The Confederation also published a list of exempt parties from the lockout that will be imposed on Efling members. These include all those who work in health and geriatric services, as well as the police, the fire brigade, ambulances, and search-and-rescue teams, in addition to civil defence and educational institutions.

As noted by Vísir: “In the event of a lockout, no one who works according to the collective agreements between SA and Efling may come to work unless they receive an exemption from SA’s executive board. Salary payments are cancelled during the lockout, as in the case of strikes, as stated on SA’s website.”

Temporarily Appointed State Mediator to Meet with Efling, SA Today

If a strike among oil and truck drivers, set to begin at noon today, becomes a reality, fuel could run out in the capital area as early as Thursday evening. Product shortages could also mean the closing of grocery stores, RÚV reports. Ástráður Haraldsson, the temporarily appointed state mediator in place of Aðalsteinn Leifsson, has called a meeting with representatives from the Efling union and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) this morning at 9 AM.

Isavia with fuel for 7-10 days

Barring any new developments, 500 hotel employees in Reykjavík and more than 70 freight and oil distribution truck drivers are set to go on strike at noon. The strike could have far-reaching effects in the Southwest corner of Iceland, RÚV reports.

According to information from Isavia – the national airport and air navigation service provider of Iceland – the company’s fuel reserves are sufficient to sustain operations at Keflavík Airport for seven to ten days. As noted by a press release from Efling yesterday, Efling granted 70 exemption requests yesterday evening (three were denied), but it remains to be seen whether Isava will file for an exemption. Among those who successfully applied for exemptions were the National Police Commissioner, the capital area fire department, the Red Cross, Strætó, the National Broadcaster (RÚV), and the winter service of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.

Ástráður Haraldsson, the temporarily appointed state mediator in place of Aðalsteinn Leifsson – who stepped aside following a ruling by the Court of Appeal – has called a meeting with representatives from the Efling union and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) this morning at 9 AM. The Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market has stated that the government will not intervene in the dispute at this time.

Grocery Stores Could Close

Guðmundur Marteinsson, CEO of the grocery store Bónus, told RÚV that the store’s shelves are adequately stocked to last through the weekend. After the weekend, however, if there is a shortage of products in the capital area, stores may have to be closed.

In an interview with Fréttablaðið yesterday, Guðmundur stated that Bónus had been preparing for strikes by placing larger-than-usual orders. When asked if the truck drivers’ strike would affect some products more than others, Guðmundur replied that almost all of Bónus’ entire range of products would be affected. “We get products delivered every single day, there is not a lot of space to store large overstocks.”

Gas stations could run dry in a matter of days

An article on Vísir yesterday noted that the sale of gasoline and oil had increased significantly, with drivers having brought various containers to the pump in order to store gasoline in the event of a long strike. The CEO of N1, Hinrik Örn Bjarnason, told Vísir that customers could begin to feel the effect of the strike as early as this evening.

“I’ve been driving between our stations yesterday and today. Last night, I saw people filling up old oil drums. There have been a lot of different kinds of bottles and containers sold,” Hinrik Örn remarked.