Expect Respect – Birmingham road workers share their stories in a plea to end the abuse they face

June 8, 2023

In the last three years, 465 incidents of road worker abuse have been reported in Birmingham. That’s why today, organisations and companies that work to improve Birmingham’s roads, including Tarmac, have launched a new campaign Expect Respect – to urge the public to respect its road workers. 

The incidents include residents threatening road workers with weapons, such as machetes, crossbows and dogs. A driver threatened to chop off an operative’s head with an electric handsaw unless he was allowed through a closed road. One worker was shot at with a pellet gun, while another regularly receives homophobic abuse. 

Road workers are there to do a critical job to improve the roads and environment for communities living in the city, and every single person deserves to go home to their families safe and well at the end of each shift.  

Expect Respect is a collaborative campaign between Birmingham’s Integrated Programme Alliance (IPA) partners, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Highways Limited, Arcadis, Kier, Tarmac, Highway Traffic Management (HTM) and WJ. It features a range of multimedia collateral that focuses on the lived experiences of some of its road workers.

It is also supported by Councillor Liz Clements, cabinet member for transport at Birmingham City Council. Cllr. Clements said: “Everyone working on our highways network is doing an important job – and all of their tasks are carried out for the people of our city and those using our roads. 

“That is why it is totally unacceptable that they are subject to any form of abuse. Some of the incidents that have been reported are shocking and horrific, which is exactly why I back this campaign.” 

Birmingham Highways Ltd (BHL) manages and maintains the roads in the city. To support road workers and to provide the police with better evidence, BHL has invested in CCTV towers, body cameras and warning systems to alert workers when people or vehicles enter a live work site. 

Dave Pugh, technical director at Birmingham Highways Limited, added: “Over 800 people across our IPA teams are working hard to improve the standards of the roads in Birmingham, and they deserve our respect. The work they do is vital to the safety and efficiency of our roads, and we hope that the proud people of Birmingham will support our workers and call out any incidences of abuse or assault to collectively help stamp out this shocking behaviour.” 

To learn more about the campaign, click here.