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Coastguards prepare for latest strike

PUBLISHED: 10:16 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:39 03 July 2010

COASTGUARDS are to go on strike for 48 hours over the busy bank holiday weekend as they continue their long- running fight for better pay.

In advance of the strike, holidaymakers are being warned to take extra care on Norfolk and Suffolk beaches as the Yarmouth coastguard office will be undermanned during one of the busiest times of the year.

COASTGUARDS are to go on strike for 48 hours over the busy bank holiday weekend as they continue their long- running fight for better pay.

In advance of the strike, holidaymakers are being warned to take extra care on Norfolk and Suffolk beaches as the Yarmouth coastguard office will be undermanned during one of the busiest times of the year.

From 8pm tomorrow staff at the regional coastguard headquarters in Havenbridge House will leave their posts for two days.

The Yarmouth coastguards in the PCS union are embarking on their second 48-hour strike in the space of just over a month to try to get pay increased by up to £3,000.

Some members of the watch, who are responsible for organising rescues from the Humber to Southwold, are paid a penny over the minimum wage.

Pay ranges from £14,000 to £20,000 for more experienced staff.

In total 19 rescue co-ordination centres nationally are being affected by the strike, which was organised to try to force the Maritime and Coastguard Agency(MCA) to agree to the pay demands.

During the industrial action the MCA will still provide a basic emergency service at Havenbridge House but some safety advice and services will not be available over the weekend.

Last night the MCA asked holidaymakers to be careful on the regions' coast and cliffs. And boat users were asked to check their vessel's safety equipment and weather reports before setting out to sea.

MCA chief executive Peter Cardy said: “We are very aware that this weekend will be busier than normal.

“Plans are in place to provide cover but we are encouraging everybody working or playing on the sea or on the beach this bank holiday weekend to take extra care.”

Anyone who spots people out to sea or on the coastline who may be in difficulty during the strike should contact the coastguards on 999.

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