Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/546/6370
Coastguards strike over bank holiday in pay protest
On 23 August, 700 PCS members in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency went on a 48-hour strike over pay. Sean Brogan, an ex-marine radio officer, from Teignmouth, Devon, reports:
The refusal of this government to negotiate with those workers who watch out for the safety of lives at sea led to closure of the Brixham station in south Devon over the busiest bank holiday of the year.
Wages are £9,000 below the equivalent in the ambulance service after six year's service. With a starting salary of £12,000, how can anyone expect to live never mind find accommodation?
Emergency workers face very strong dilemmas when choosing to go on strike. The 'right' and the 'good' sit in judgement condemning such action as immoral and unjustified.
MPs seem to need five times as much as us to live on, never mind the expenses of ten times that amount and the free meals that are thrown in.
The refusal of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to have meaningful negotiations over pay is part of New Labour's strategy to make workers pay for the recession. The myth that wage increases cause inflation was buried by Marx 150 years ago but just like they did in the 1970s, the rich and their representatives are desperate to blame anyone but themselves for inflation.
They are prepared to allow our coastguard stations to be manned by managers with very little operational experience, putting lives at risk.
In The Socialist 3 September 2008:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party NHS campaign