Shell tanker driver strikes: Business continuity plans must be in place, urge experts

IT directors should make sure their continuity plans are in order in case today's oil strike escalates, business continuity experts have warned.

IT directors should make sure their continuity plans are in order in case today's oil strike escalates, business continuity experts have warned.

Tanker drivers from Shell are taking part in a four-day strike starting today (June 13). Although experts say the strike should not have a direct effect on business, they are concerned that protestors may use the opportunity to cause further disruption.

Russell Price, chairman of the Continuity Forum, which offers advice to businesses, said campaigners may use the opportunity to protest against fuel prices and cause fuel shortages.

"This strike does not pose a significant risk, because it only affects 10% of service stations," Russell Price said. "A huge amount is down to the public's reaction. If people behave normally there will be no problem.

"If other protestors and lobbyists jump on the bandwagon and push the point politically, particularly relating to the amount of government excise on fuel, it could escalate. This happened with the last fuel crisis eight years ago - and fuel prices were then only 75% of what they are now."

IT directors could be affected if staff are unable to get into work, Price said. Only 47% of business have continuity plans in place, he said. He urged businesses to think about how they would function if transport became a problem.

Rob Thomson, a director at continuity firm Sunguard, said, "It's a nuisance rather than a major problem at the moment. However, if it becomes more widespread it could impact on business."

Price said it pays to be prepared. He said, "This fuel strike shouldn't be an issue, but equally, Northern Rock shouldn't have been an issue."

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