Staff from National Highways are taking strike action. It comes as Britain is plunged into severe weather conditions making the roads less safe than usual.

Extra care needed

IAM RoadSmart is warning motorists to take extra care.

The advice is that people only travel on main roads in England if necessary. If you are, then check vehicle before a journey, as there will be limited support on the highways.

Problems could get worse as roads are expected to get much busier with other transport strikes taking place over the Christmas period.

Signs of the times

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are taking strike action. This includes those who work at National Highways, with 12 days of industrial action beginning today (Thursday 15 December). The dispute is taking place over working conditions and pay.

Both traffic officers and control centre staff are involved with strike  action. They are responsible for a variety of different jobs directly affecting road safety. These include programming electronic signs that provide information about speed limits and lane closures. They also work closely with emergency services to monitor the roads and support when there is a collision.

This industrial action takes the estimated total of people striking in December to 1.3 million. Others include ambulance workers, nurses, rail staff, Royal Mail staff, driving examiners and members of the Border Force.

Worrying moves

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, says they “are very concerned about these strikes”.

“Control centre staff monitor information from traffic detectors and CCTV, and act on it to set the warning signs – they are often the first point of call when there is an incident

“Having the right support there to act fast is absolutely critical on motorways, as any delays in setting signs or sending help could prolong someone being stranded on the side of a motorway, which can be life-threatening – even a few minutes can make the difference between getting involved in a collision or not.

“We want all drivers to be aware of the issue and, if they have to travel, to take as much care as they can on the roads – this is even more important when the road strikes coincide with severe weather and rail strikes. It has never been more important to make sure you have checked that your vehicle is safe, fuelled and prepared for any challenge.”