Military personnel and civil servants are being trained to step in, the government said, as the country faces an intensifying wave of strikes over conditions and pay this month, from nurses, paramedics and rail workers to Border Force officials.
The government said members of the armed forces would also be sent to hospital trusts across the country to familiarise themselves with vehicles before an ambulance strike scheduled for December 21.
Some members are already being trained as part of contingency plans by Border Force officials, as the government tries to avoid widespread travel disruption at Christmas.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden will on Monday lead the first of two Cabinet Office briefing rooms (Cobra) meetings next week, which will be attended by transport, health, Home Office and defence ministers.
Strikes across the UK - in pictures
Another meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.
Mr Dowden called on unions to call off the “damaging” strikes.
“The stance the unions have taken will cause disruption for millions of hardworking people over the coming weeks," he said.
“The government will do all it can to mitigate the impact of this action, but the only way to stop the disruption completely is for union bosses to get back round the table and call off these damaging strikes.
“Although departments are responsible for plans in individual sectors, it is right that the Cabinet Office co-ordinates a cross-government response.
“I will be chairing a series of Cobra meetings over the coming weeks to ensure our plans are as robust as possible, and that disruption is kept to a minimum.”
Border Force workers at UK airports to strike over Christmas - video
Royal College of Nursing members are due to take part in unprecedented strike action on December 15 and December 20, with tens of thousands of nurses expected to join.
With rail strikes also planned between now and early January, the government said it was working with Network Rail and freight companies to prevent delays and to ensure coal, steel and waste are given priority.
UK nurses to stage walkout over pay row - video
Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton echoed that message.
“The wage rise given to health workers this year simply hasn’t been enough to stop staff leaving in droves," Ms Gorton said.
"Without enough employees in the NHS, patients will go on waiting too long for ambulances and for treatment to start.
“Instead of putting plans in place for the strike days, ministers should be concentrating all their efforts on ending the disputes.”