Lifesavers of the seas in pay row ‘work to rule’

Blundellsands coastguard station
Blundellsands coastguard station
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Coastguard staff responsible for conducting sea rescues along the Fylde coast have launched industrial action against their employers.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union at Liverpool Coastguard are carrying out the action after they say senior managers went back on an agreement to end a six year pay dispute.

While the action does not include strikes, it will cover work to rules and withdrawal of goodwill, which the union says is designed to frustrate the employer but not put public safety at risk.

Jeremy Gautrey, PCS negotiations officer, said: “Ministers and senior officials have been, at best, incompetent and, at worst, deceitful in putting forward proposals and not following them through.

“Coastguard staff provide life-saving services day in, day out, saving many hundreds of lives a year and they deserve decent pay and working conditions.”

Liverpool Coastguard is set to close in 2015 as part of Government changes to centralise coastguard operations in Hampshire.

Chris Jameson, Fylde coast spokesman for the pressure group Coastguard SOS, said: “You would expect them to be on a similar conditions to the police but that’s not the case.

“The Government and Maritime Coastguard Agency are not doing the things they are promising and they don’t seem to take any importance in fulfilling the promises.

“They are letting down the public and the coastguard by failing to carry out the promises they’ve made about pay.”

A spokesman of the MCA said: “Discussions on Coastguard pay are continuing between MCA, Department for Transport and HM Treasury.

“This is an important process which we need to follow and one which we cannot control in terms of duration.

“Staff and Trade Unions have been kept updated throughout the process.”

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