Preparing for PCS union strike action


09 Dec 2022

We’ve drawn up plans to ensure safe and reliable journeys on England’s busiest roads during strike action starting next week.

Preparing for PCS union strike action

Strikes will be staged by the PCS union within each of our organisational regions in December and early January. Action begins in the north of England on Friday 16 December, before spreading to other regions in turn over the following three weeks.

We’re working to ensure that any industrial action will not affect road users’ experience and are confident that the impact of the strikes will be managed.

Around 125 out 1,500 frontline operational staff – traffic officers on the road and in control rooms – will be taking part. This equates to between 10 and 25 people per region.

We have robust and well-rehearsed measures to deal with any operational challenges facing our network, including those related to staffing. Resources can be shared between control centres around the country to assist with call handling and the setting of signs and signals.  

Separately, we’ll be lifting roadworks around the country over the Christmas period – as we do each year – which will help to improve the flow of journeys on the network. Details of this work are being finalised and will be announced next week.

Our roads may be busier on strike days, particularly as a result of industrial action elsewhere in the transport sector, including on the rail network, so drivers are being urged to take extra care. This includes planning ahead, and checking that vehicles are safe and roadworthy, with enough fuel for the journey.  

The strike action does not include colleagues in a range of other roles, including those who work on the network every day to maintain road surfaces, signs and signals. We used our fleet of gritters for the first time this winter earlier this week. These remain at the ready to keep roads safe and clear and are also unaffected by the strike action. 

Duncan Smith, our Executive Director of Operations, said:

“We’ve reviewed the impact that the PCS strikes may have and are confident our well-rehearsed resilience plans mean we can continue to manage and operate our network safely.  

“Millions of people rely on our roads and there is a possibility that they may be busier than usual on strike days, particularly when they correspond with industrial action on other transport modes. We’d urge drivers to take extra care during the cold weather and in the run up to Christmas when our network is always busier.”