Union leaders are warning that cuts to the highways management contract in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire could put road workers at risk.
The Area 10 highways management contract covers the M60 and M62 area and is set to be transferred from existing contractor A1 plus to Balfour Beatty/Mott McDonald next month.
The union said spending cuts have forced the Highways Agency to reduce the level of service required on the contract.
The new contractor is proposing to reduce blue collar staff numbers by over 50% from 220 to 103.
As part of the cuts all Incident Support Units will be removed. The support units play a crucial role in protecting workers in making temporary highways repairs and help to ensure incidents are minimised and traffic is kept moving.
Since the introduction of Incident Support Units six years ago there have not been any fatal accidents or serious injuries involving workers in the area.
Jimmy Woods, Acting Regional Secretary of construction union Ucatt’s North West Region, said: “These savage cuts are bad news for everybody. They will decrease safety for workers and road users and will lead to increased delays on the road network.
“It is simply impossible to operate this contract with so few staff; all parties must come together and agree a realistic way forward.”