Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The revolting MCA

For the first time in their history the 700 staff of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are going on strike.

Their grievance centres around the fact that their pay rates are significantly behind those of the other rescue services (consider the fact that the person who handles your MAYDAY call earns something similar to the person who flips your burgers).

Indeed the situation is so bad that Watch Assistants recently needed a 'special' pay rise just to bring them up to the level of the national minimum wage! Now I don't often swear but that is simply bloody outrageous. These are skilled men and women who have the experience and skills required to ensure the safety of shipping in British waters and who save lives through their professionalism in co-ordinating search and rescue operations. I'm damn sure they earn their money, how about we actually give it to them too?

So tomorrow they walk out. And I fully support that. We in the lifeboat service will carry on with business as usual. So too will all of the volunteer Coastguards around the coast. I'm not entirely sure how the extraordinarily high level of service which the MCA employees normally provide will be covered but it won't be easily done. Lets pray for calm weather.

Comrades. I salute you.......

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