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Work to rule slows Agency road projects


HIGHWAYS AGENCY roads projects face delays for the next two months because its engineers have started a work to rule over low pay and long working hours.

Industrial action began on Monday and is being taken by members of the Prospect and Public & Commercial Services unions.

It involves 1,600 Agency staff working strictly to the hours stated in their contracts for the next 10 weeks.

Prospect negotiations officer John Higgins said that over 400 civil engineers across England were taking part in industrial action against the Agency. They have been offered a 0.5% pay rise for 2006.

'The Agency takes for granted a huge amount of good will, ' said Higgins.

He explained that engineers often travelled long distances to attend meetings which required them to leave home early and arrive home late.

Manchester-based engineers travelling to Bristol will now leave home at 9am arriving at their destination at lunchtime and then leaving by 2pm so they can get home without having to travel outside working hours.

The action is expected to affect projects in the process of being planned and procured.

An Agency spokesperson said only 25% of staff were taking part in the protest and impact on the Agency's work 'is expected to be minimal'.

Unions and the Agency will meet in February to discuss working conditions.

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