Image copyright Jon Reid Image caption An empty digger was blocking traffic on Regent Road

Drivers in Manchester city centre faced rush-hour tailbacks after workmen blocked main roads with diggers in protest at not being paid.

The equipment was abandoned on Regent Road and Chester Road, both of which are undergoing major roadworks.

Manchester City Council said it was "clearly unacceptable behaviour which caused unnecessary inconvenience".

Construction contractor Dawnus has been approached for comment. All lanes have now reopened.

The work is part of the £15m Manchester-Salford Inner Relief Route improvement scheme, which is upgrading six major junctions along Regent Road.

Drivers have faced disruption since the scheme, carried out jointly by Manchester and Salford city councils, began in August 2018.

Image copyright Sinead Haycox Image caption An abandoned digger blocked the traffic heading into town on Chester Road during rush hour on Tuesday

Bus company Stagecoach tweeted that the incident was causing delays to its services.

A Manchester City Council spokesperson condemned the action as "unacceptable behaviour" which caused "unnecessary inconvenience" for many motorists.

"Just after 9am this morning, workers for sub-contractors employed by our main contractor Dawnus on the Regent Road scheme blocked live traffic lanes causing congestion and delays in a dispute over alleged non-payment.

"The site has now been made safe, council staff are at the site to make it secure and no further issues are anticipated.

"However, we are seeking urgent clarification from Dawnus about their position and looking at how we ensure that this major scheme is completed as soon as possible."

A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said the force was made aware of a digger in the road and officers were helping with the traffic disruption.

Highways England tweeted that Regent Road was "now cleared and congestion has eased".