A bridge on one of the major routes into Norfolk is expected to be operating as normal despite three workers going on strike next week.
The trio who man the Cross Keys Bridge on the A17 in Sutton Bridge will be downing tools during the early hours of Sunday morning in a pay row with Lincolnshire County Council.
The bridge will be manned by four senior county council managers during the week-long protest, which ends on March 17.
The two bridge keepers and a supervisor say they will lose around 13.5 per cent of their take-home pay if their terms and conditions are changed.
The men are fighting to retain their weekend allowances and paid meal breaks.
The bridge is manned around the clock throughout the week. They are also on call for four hours before and after their shift. Leaders of the trade union Unison, which represents the men, say that will save the council £11,500.
Bridge worker and union steward Tom Street said “Our families can’t afford for us to take such a dramatic cut in our pay. Everyone is feeling the pinch with these austerity measures and the cost of living is rising each year. We have suffered a three-year pay freeze and now the council want to cut our pay further”.
Lincolnshire County Council claims the move is not financially driven, but aims to be fair to all of its 6.000 staff.
The authority and Unison signed a collective agreement three years ago, which applies to all workers, including the bridge staff. The council says no other staff have paid breaks or are paid on a four-weekly basis.
Assistant director of highways and transportation Paul Coathup said:“We are preparing our contingency plans but presently do not expect there will be too much disruption for the motorists.
“The bridge will generally remain open to road traffic and we fully expect to be able to accommodate river traffic, too.
“There may be some inconvenience for leisure boats travelling through, but we will work hard to keep this to a minimum.”
Why are the men striking?
Lincolnshire County Council is looking to change the bridge keepers’ working terms and conditions by removing weekend allowances and paid-for breaks. The council also wants to change the pay arrangements by moving to a calendar month than a four weekly basis.
What effect will this have?
Union says the men will lose 13.5 per cent of their take home pay.