Coastguard bosses’ refusal to negotiate over pay is ‘putting lives at risk’

Lives are being put at risk by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) refusal to negotiate in a row over pay, a union has warned.

More than 700 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are taking part in a second one-day strike today (11 April). The PCS claims pay levels at the agency fall way behind those paid to other emergency services.

The union advised the public to avoid taking to the sea for non-essential activities. The previous coastguards’ strike on 6 March drew strong support hitting emergency and 999 distress calls, the union claimed.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “Strike action is a last resort and could have been avoided if the government and the MCA hadn’t continued with their refusal to meaningfully negotiate a satisfactory outcome.

“We anticipate the support for the today’s stoppage to be as strong as the last one so would advise the public to avoid taking to the sea for non-essential activities.”

The MCA said contingency planning was in place to ensure public safety was protected.

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