Drivers face ‘Highway to Hell’ as M25 emergency workers ballot for strikes
- Wednesday 8 March 2023
Drivers using the M25 face 'Highway to Hell' journeys this spring as workers employed by the joint venture company Connect Plus Services, who provide maintenance and undertake emergency responses on the motorway, ballot for industrial action over pay.
Strike action will result in an increase in traffic jams on the M25 with any delays being for a prolonged period.
The 150 plus workers have rejected a pay offer of 5.3 per cent, which is a sizeable real terms pay cut with the real inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 13.4 per cent.
The ballot for industrial action opens on Monday 13 March and closes on Friday 31 March. If members vote for strike action than stoppages could begin as early as mid-April.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members perform an essential role in keep the M25 moving. It is completely unacceptable that Connect Plus is trying to force through a real terms pay cut.
“The company needs to realise its actions are unreasonable and return to the negotiating table with a vastly improved pay offer.
“Unite is now entirely focused on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workers at Connect Plus Services will receive the union’s complete support.”
The workers undertake general maintenance duties to ensure the M25 operates smoothly. They install and maintain traffic management systems during repair work and liaise closely with National Highways traffic officers.
They are also responsible for all elements of emergency repair work on the motorway, including at accident sites, barrier repairs and dealing with floods and melting tarmac. The workers are also responsible for the winter maintenance contract (gritting).
The workforce is paid as little as £13 an hour and most of them require a HGV licence in order to use the heavy plant vehicles needed for their roles.
Connect Plus Services fail
Unite regional officer Malcolm Bonnett said: “Strike action will inevitably cause severe delays and disruption on the M25 and turn it into a 'Highway to Hell'. But this dispute is entirely of Connect Plus Services’ own making. It has been given every opportunity to make a fair pay offer but has refused to do so.”
Connect Plus Services is a joint venture company operated by a partnership of Balfour Beatty, Egis and Aitkin.
For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.
Email: [email protected]
Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.