Highways Agency halts job cuts in Eastern England . . . but only until after the Games

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UCATT has accused the Highways Agency of hypocrisy after it learned that plans which will dramatically affect the safety of road users in Eastern England will be delayed until after the Olympics.

The Highways Agency is currently altering its contract with private contractor Atkins concerning Incident Support Unit staff who patrol the M11, A12, A14 and A120.

The 70 strong ISU team are currently responsible for clearing debris, attending accidents and ensuring the roads are in a safe conditions. Under the current contract they must respond to an accident within 20 minutes.

Due to the Highways Agency cuts the highly trained and dedicated 70 strong team will be replaced by just 20 “multi-skilled workers” based in one location and the current response times will be abolished.

UCATT Eastern Regional Secretary Brian Rye said: “This is economic madness, for the sake of a very small saving. The key roads in Eastern England will become more dangerous and journey times will massively increase as delays become longer, directly as a result of these cuts.”

The first round of redundancies were due to take place on July 2nd. However, during redundancy talks attended by UCATT late last week, it emerged that the Highways Agency have now asked for the cuts in staffing and the level of service to be delayed until September after the Olympics have concluded.

Brian Rye said: “This is hypocrisy on an Olympic scale from the Highways Agency. They have claimed that the cuts won’t affect the road network, yet they now don’t want them to occur until after the Olympics. Our roads must be safe and delays must be minimised all year round and not just when the eyes of the world are upon us.”


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