Yarmouth Coastguards to strike

PUBLISHED: 16:16 09 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 July 2010

COASTGUARDS are due to hold a 24-hour strike from 7am on Friday.

Staff at the Yarmouth coastguard rescue centre at Havenbridge House will be among those joining in, the second one day strike in five weeks.

COASTGUARDS are due to hold a 24-hour strike from 7am on Friday.

Staff at the Yarmouth coastguard rescue centre at Havenbridge House will be among those joining in, the second one day strike in five weeks.

It is part of an ongoing pay battle and further strike action on April 23.

Staff are upset pay levels lag behind those of other emergency services. Coastguard watch assistants, who help with search planning and responses to 999 calls, earn the minimum wage and more experienced staff are paid between £14,000 and £20,000 a year.

Mark Serwotka, Public and Communications Services Union general secretary, said: “The strength of feeling amongst dedicated coastguard staff is self-evident following the strong support for their first strike. It is deeply disappointing that management and the government have refused to talk seriously about resolving the disparities in pay with other emergency service workers and pitiful pay levels that result in coastguard watch assistants receiving a special pay rise because the minimum wage has risen.

“The continued refusal by the government and the agency to value the work of its forgotten emergency service has provoked avoidable strike action and puts lives at risk.”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency says it is “greatly disappointed” by the “unnecessary and potentially life-threatening action”.

Yarmouth coastguards were involved in the rescue of two men from the North Sea during the early hours of Sunday .

The coastguard service worked closely with the RAF rescue helicopter to first evacuate a seriously injured man from a yacht sailing from Holland to Lowestoft.

Within an hour, the same crews were called out to rescue a 33-year-old British man injured on the Pride of Hull ferry sailing from Belgium to Hull.

Wayne Brunning. Yarmouth Coastguard watch manager, said: “We would like to thank the crew of rescue helicopter 125 and Gorleston Coastguard rescue team for ensuring these people were evacuated for treatment as quickly and safely as possible. While it is unusual to get two incidents of this type in quick succession, both were dealt with as quickly and professionally as one would expect.”

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