The public has been urged not to panic-buy petrol ahead of the upcoming tanker drivers strike - although an industry group fear it is inevitable.

Petrol stations have not reported any signs of panic buying even though tanker drivers are poised for a possible Easter strike which could wreak havoc over one of the busiest getaway weekends of the year.

"It [panic buying] may be expected. In the past it has happened, when looking at similar situations," a spokeswoman for the Petrol Retailers Association told IBTimes UK. "We are holding out that hopefully it will not.

"We obviously do not condone it. We are trying to urge consumers not to."

Petrol tanker drivers in the Unite union voted for strike action in a row over pensions and working conditions, as well as health and safety concerns.

No specific date for the strike has been set, though Unite's leader Len McCluskey was refusing to rule out the Easter weekend.

"This is not about pay - this is about ensuring that high safety and training standards are maintained so that our communities are safe," Diana Holland, Unite assistant general secretary, said.

Ed Davey, the government's energy secretary, described the strike as "completely unnecessary". Unite was behaving irresponsibly, he said.

"This could potentially threaten economic recovery," he told the BBC.

About 300 army fuel tankers were being drafted in as part of government contingency measures. A strike would bring out petrol tanker drivers from Britain's main distributors for Tesco, Sainsbury's, BP, Shell and Esso.

"This vote should disappoint us all. Disruption is in nobody's interest at this critical moment in the recovery," John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said.

"Our roads are vital for the health of our economy, delivering 83 percent of all goods in the UK, and 70 percent of employees to work," he said.

"Drivers have voted for a strike, but each employer and Unite should now get back around the table to discuss the issues raised. Going ahead with strike action would have a real impact on people across the country."