Anglia: Walkouts begin at coastguard stations

UNION members are today due to stage walkouts at the region’s two coastguard bases, in protest against the proposed closure of nine of the UK’s 18 stations.

Staff from the under threat coastguard station at Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, planned to strike from the early hours of this morning in the latest phase of a month of action by transport workers.

The action, between 3am and 4am, begins a week-long series of walkouts by Maritime and Coastguard Agency workers in protest at station closure plans and the potential loss of more than 140 jobs.

They are due to be joined by colleagues in Great Yarmouth, as well as at Dover and the Thames Barrier, in Woolwich.

This morning’s industrial action will be followed by day shift workers from 11am to 12pm on Saturday, then alternate between night and day shifts up to and including Friday, June 15. All walkouts will be between 3am and 4am on nights, and 11am and 12pm on days.

Driving examiners in the Driving Standards Agency will also hold a two-hour strike against job cuts, privatisation and plans to close driving test centres. The union’s 3,200 members at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency headquarters in Swansea will also strike for two hours.

The strikes are part of a wave of action by the union’s 8,000 members in the Department for Transport (DfT), and ongoing national industrial action against cuts to pensions, jobs and pay, which included a strike across the civil service, health and education sectors on May 10.

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Further strikes will be held throughout June by staff in the DfT’s headquarters and its seven agencies.

Public and Commercial Services general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We have always had grave concerns about the government’s proposals to cut coastguard stations and staff, and we know this is shared by people in our coastal communities.

“We believe these cuts could put lives at risk, and we want ministers to abandon the plans and talk to us, the public and seafarers in a genuine effort to establish the kind of coastguard service we need, and to invest to ensure the proper resources are put in place.”

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