Dover coastguards hit by strike action for second time

Contributed by editor on Apr 13, 2008 - 09:26 AM

A second one day strike by coastguard workers over pay closed almost half the UK’s rescue centres last week and left the rest staffed by managers,  claim union leaders.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said hundreds of its members at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) walked out for 24 hours in protest at pay levels said to be “way below” other emergency services.

At Dover Coastguard, one of the busiest stations in the country, union members reportedly said they received “overwhelming support” for the strike.

PCS official Paul Smith is quoted as saying: “Our main point is that our members fulfil their role as an emergency service, yet their pay levels have fallen way behind those in the police, fire and ambulance services.

“Even the management have acknowledged that we are about £4,500 below in pay to that of other comparable emergency services, which is not right.”

One member of staff at Dover Coastguard, who declined to be named, is reported saying that the general public would be shocked to learn what their salaries were.

The staff worker claims the basic pay is £12,500, with a 25% shift allowance, but they have to work weekends, evenings, Christmas and Easter.

This is after a complete a year’s training, yet people joining the fire service start on a salary of £18,500 the worker claimed.