Workers at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency took the first strike in their history on Thursday of last week over pay. The strike, by PCS and Prospect union members, severely affected services.
Sue Philp, a PCS rep in Southampton, told Socialist Worker, “We had a very successful strike with well-attended picket lines at all coastguard stations. We were campaigning over the low pay levels for coastguard staff – which could be £12,000 a year depending on grade.”
The PCS represents the uniformed coastguards and the admin staff, while Prospect represents the technical staff.
“Management’s contingency plans for the day included using non-union members who were not qualified,” said Sue.
“These plans were not as tested as they would have been if the strike had taken place on a stormy day such as Monday of this week. There was also a notice to mariners not to go to sea during the strike.
“We haven’t ruled out the possibility of further action. We are waiting to see if management will talk to us.”