STAFF at Bridlington’s Coastguard station have joined a series of strikes this week as part of UK-wide industrial action over planned government cut backs to the service nationally.
There have been a series of short one hour walk outs this week against plans to close nine of the UK’s coastguard stations and cut more than 140 jobs.
Andrew Mahood, Bridlington Branch secretary for the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union told the Free Press that coastguards only want to offer the best possible service to the public but fears government cuts will prevent this. “It’s regrettable that we have to do this but we are trying to keep a decent Coastguard for the people now and into the future,” Mr Mahood said.
“We want to give the public the best service but it’s apparent that we have something that the Government doesn’t, and it’s called a conscience,” he added.
The government has claimed that the changes to coastguard provision would modernise the service but the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) say they would mean “loss of life-saving local knowledge” around the coastline.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “With unemployment high and our communities suffering as a result of the government’s cuts, ministers should be providing all the help they can to local economies that are crying out for support and investment.
“Instead they’re ploughing on with entirely unnecessary and unpopular cuts to vital transport services. These strikes across the whole range of transport services form a major part of our ongoing fight against cuts to pensions, jobs and pay.”
The MCA has said that those striking would be staff responsible for co-ordinating rescues and not the rescuers themselves who have continued to operate as normal, with the RNLI still sending out its lifeboats.
These lightning strikes are part of a month of action by transport workers, including driving examiners who walked out for several hours last Friday.
Nationally further strikes will be held throughout June by staff at the Department for Transport headquarters and its seven agencies, including the Driving Standard’s Agency and Highways Agency.