Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Saturday, 19 July 2008 14:41 UK

Coastguards strike over pay row

Stornoway Coastguard station (Pic: Norman Campbell)
Scotland's coastguard centres are taking part in the strike

Coastguards across Scotland have walked out in the latest in a series of strikes over pay.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union at the country's five control centres are taking part in the UK-wide 48-hour action.

Calls to the Clyde and Forth coastguard stations are being diverted to Belfast and Aberdeen.

Staff remain on duty at Aberdeen, Stornoway and Shetland, to respond to emergency distress calls.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it had contingency plans in place.

Stuart Atkinson, of the PCS union, said its members had been left with no alternative but to strike.

Emergency measures

He added that demonstrations had taken place at Greenock, Aberdeen and Stornoway coastguard stations.

"The vast majority of PCS members throughout the country have supported this strike," said Mr Atkinson.

The PCS union said management had not shared its emergency measures.

Staff are unhappy their pay is different from that of other emergency services personnel.

MCA chief executive, Peter Cardy, urged seafarers to take adequate precautions over the weekend, including seeking out alternatives to the agency weather forecasting which will not be available.

'Safety at sea'

Mr Cardy said: "Clearly there is a gap between the pay of coastguards, particularly at the lower end of the range, and that of the other services."

However, he said the work between the services was organised differently and it had to be established what the appropriate pay was for different levels of responsibility.

He added: "Our top concern is, of course, safety of life at sea and so we have been working very hard to make sure our contingency plans are as good as they could be."


SEE ALSO
Coastguard staff back pay strike
27 Feb 08 |  England

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