Union threat to close Cross Keys Bridge

Cross Keys Bridge could close if workers go on strike. Photo: SG151212-112TW
Cross Keys Bridge could close if workers go on strike. Photo: SG151212-112TW
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There are fears traffic in three counties will plunge into chaos if workers at the Sutton Bridge “gateway to Lincolnshire” go on strike.

Three county council employees at Cross Keys swing bridge have voted to take industrial action in a dispute over pay – and that could mean a strike within 28 days.

The bridge carries the A17 over the River Nene and its closure would mean a detour through Wisbech for the estimated 17,000-plus vehicles shuttling between Lincolnshire and Norfolk every day.

Sutton Bridge district and parish councillor Michael Booth hopes the men’s union, Unison, and the county council will hammer out an agreement and avert any strike.

“I think it would be the first time ever if it did close,” he said.

Coun Booth believes transport law would favour leaving open the river navigation and closing the road – which would see thousands of drivers detouring through Wisbech.

He said: “That would be a terrible situation.

“As it is, it doesn’t take many minutes to get everything snarled up when the bridge swings and going back to 2000, when he had the haulage contractors in fuel demonstrations, the A17 was blocked all the way to King’s Lynn and to Fosdyke.”

Gavyn Graham, assistant branch secretary at Unison Lincolnshire, said: “It’s entirely up to Lincolnshire County Council whether or not they keep it open to traffic or whether they keep it open to river vessels.”

The union says the men stand to lose around 13.5 per cent of their take-home pay if their weekend allowances are axed by the county council.