Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "Coastguards are the forgotten emergency service and the government needs to act quickly in paying them a wage that is comparable to other emergency services."
I just dont understand why anyone would go on strike given this Governments great record for recognising public service with appropriete equipment, pay and conditions while selflessly denying themselves any perks or payrises for the last decade or so!
It was in "Second Life" when I posted. I wasn't taking the p1ss out of you. I was reiterating what you said (because the reason I looked at the thread was out of curiosity at the concept of a Coastguards' strike on Second Life ).......... and (I suppose) having a pop at the thread-starter.
At risk of blowing my Persec wide open,
I feel the need to wade in at this point. I am a CWA and my hourly wage is £5.52 an hour, I could actually earn more in McDonalds but I still have my self respect, for this princely sum I take 999 calls and mayday/pan pan radio traffic (as well as all the routine stuff), I keep watch over approx 4000 square nautical miles of sea and about 140 miles of coastline. I never thought of myself as a Union person (live down south, don't vote labour, never seen a coal mine and don't race ferrets in my off watch!) but after nearly 6 years of on/off negotiations and broken promises by management what can you do. They have refused to hold any further negotiations over the matter. I only got a pay rise this year because the National Minimum wage went up, otherwise I'd still be on £5.40 an hour. The Shift allowance is added to min wage, and is there to compensate for the crazy hours, being on call and night work. If it wasn't for that little extra I couldn't actually survive. However if I work overtime (pension contributions etc) it is calculated at minimum wage. There is no pay rise upon completion of your training (at least 1 year, if you pass everything 1st time).
It is a very stressful and complex job, with busy days and quiet days like anything else, and is quite seasonal. Obviously summer is busier, but you can't just have MRCC's open then, various big incidents this winter have proven its a year round task - Ice Prince, Riverdance and heaps of others that aren't reported on very much by the media.
All we are asking for is parity with our colleagues in the other emergency services (control staff). Oh we do deal with drunks and druggies, not surprisingly your average crack head chav doesn't swim to well when under the influence. However in SAR you can't pick and choose who you rescue. They all get the same service, just some got passed to the rozzers on completion!
Our training is long and intensive, we are one of the most respected SAR bodies worldwide, we deal with thousands of SAR missions every year, we save many 100's of lives every year, and we are forgotten by almost all until the shite hits the fan and you dial 999 or shout mayday into your radio.
WO/CWA's do essentially the same job on a day to day basis, the WO steps up to the plate on really big searches, they get extra training on search planning (wind and tidal drift etc..). Day in day out (at my station anyway) we all pile in, you don't fanny about when you hear mayday or the 999 rings, you get in there and do your best.
Anyway rant over. Long story short we are backed into a corner and have no other options. As about 70% of us are ex service of one flavour or another this isn't something we want to be doing. Its an absolute last resort.
So if you are heading out to sea in any capacity on the 6th, I'd take it easy and go steady. There will be nobody listening to either VHF/MF or the 999 service. Lets hope they see sense and will at least agree to talk about it before then.