British coast guards strike work for the first time

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

HM Coastguard helicopter "India Juliet"
Image: Ben W Well.

British coast guards have walked out for the first time today in a strike over low pay. The strike, which began at 7 a.m. UTC will affect 19 regional call centres which handle emergency calls and maydays.

The Public and Commercial Services Union said that 700 members had walked out over pay conditions, citing the £12,000 salary, which is below that of other emergency services, and low wage increases in past years.

The union says the 24 hour walkout is to try to achieve a £3000 wage increase, to match that of the other services and break the "poverty pay" that staff and members currently receive.

Managers have been called in to handle the emergency calls, and the union confirmed that the service would not be affected, with boats and helicopters still remaining active throughout the strike period.