Motorists have urged people to plan ahead for New Year’s trips as strikes hit highways

National Highways is urging drivers to plan their journeys ahead of time in the new year amid another strike by some workers as traffic levels return to normal after the Christmas break.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are planning a nationwide strike on January 3 and 4 – the first working days after the Christmas period in England.

National Highways said it has put in place “well-rehearsed resilience plans” to ensure the 4,500-mile strategic road network remains open and safe, and is confident the industrial action will have minimal overall impact.

However, roads are expected to be congested on both days, and drivers are asked to plan ahead, especially when national rail strikes are staged at the same time.

It is recommended to check road conditions and traffic jams before setting off.

The Met Office is forecasting showers and heavy rains this week.

Duncan Smith, Executive Director of Operations at National Highways, said: “A small minority of frontline operational staff are involved in the PCS strikes, which have so far had minimal overall impact.

“We have well-rehearsed resiliency plans to continue to safely manage and operate our network, including during wider operations in the new year.

“Millions of people rely on our roads and there is a possibility that strike days may be busier than usual, especially as they fall on the first working days after the Christmas break when industrial action is also organized on other modes of transport.

“We urge drivers to plan ahead and check that their vehicle is in good working order.”

Strike of PCK members

Union of Public and Commercial Services (PCS) General Secretary Mark Serwotka (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

PCS members on the National Highways have already staged three regional strikes over the past month, involving frontline operational personnel at regional operations centers and traffic officers.

National highways said that the operation of highways and major national roads was not affected.

The PCS is embroiled in a fierce wage dispute with the government and is organizing a series of strikes by its members across the civil service.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Previous strikes elsewhere in England have caused disruption for those traveling over the festive period and this strike is likely to do the same.

“While we regret that people’s travel plans will be affected, we make it clear that this strike could be called off today if the prime minister or chancellor put money on the table.”

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