COMMUTERS are being warned that the winter could see widespread disruption to the North West’s motorway network, including on the M65, due to a dispute between construction firm Amey and road repair workers.

Workers on these roads are employed by the building giant to undertake highway maintenance, respond to accidents and organise gritting to keep roads free of ice.

However, the dispute between the company and the Unite union, which represents the workers, has arisen due to their claims that Amey is attempting to end union recognition, reduce the number of workers’ representatives and alter pay and conditions.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Andy Fisher said: “Amey’s management in the North West, we fear, is set on union busting, in order to cut workers’ pay and conditions to ramp up profits.

“Industrial action would be the last resort and would not be entered into lightly as it will cause incredible disruption across the North West.”

Along with the M65, disruption could be due to hit the M6, M60, M67, M66, M56, M57, M58, M602, M61, M62, M53 and possibly several major A roads.

Unite says that road workers have a long-standing recognition agreement under the Construction Industry Joint Council which is now under attack by a new company management appointed earlier this year.

As a result the union claims the firm has recently removed the bonus payments workers receive, insisted that all holidays are booked a year in advance and is attempting to bring new starters onto the contract outside of the protection of the recognition agreement.

The company says it is committed to the safety and wellbeing of employees and wishes to find a resolution to the dispute without the need for industrial action.

It also denies that the firm plans to end union recognition or attack the pay or working conditions of employees.