Up to 700 MCA staff are picketing today for the second time in as many months

Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) staff are staging their second strike in as many months today over what union leaders claim are “pay levels way behind those of other emergency services”.

Up to 700 MCA staff that are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are understood to be taking part in the action, which began at 7am this morning and will run through to tomorrow.

The PCS has warned against taking to sea for “non-essential activities”, while the MCA has said its services would be “of a more limited nature” during the strike.

Rescue services such as the RNLI, and search and rescue helicopter operations are unaffected by the walkout.

The PCS said the root of the problem was the Government’s refusal to implement the findings of studies saying that pay levels at the MCA should be the same as other emergency services.

“Staff are furious over pay levels where watch assistants, who actively participate in search planning and other duties in response to 999 calls, only earn the national minimum wage,” the PCS said.

“Strike action is a last resort and could have been avoided if the government and the
MCA hadn’t continued with their refusal to meaningfully negotiate a satisfactory outcome.”

Photo: An MCA worker on the picket line in Greenock, Scotland