Opinion Former Article

PCS: New coastguard plans still leave safety concerns

Scaled back plans to cut the number of coastguard stations still leave concerns over public safety, the Public and Commercial Services union said.

While welcoming the fact the government has partially climbed-down from its original proposals, the union said it will still oppose any new plans that would result in safety being compromised.

The rethink means some of the stations previously threatened with closure will be saved, and all those remaining will stay open 24 hours. This recognises the need for round the clock coverage to preserve the vital local knowledge that the government initially claimed would not be lost, but which was proved wrong.

Today's announcement is a partial victory for the communities who campaigned to save what is an essential public service that they hold dear. But it will be a bitter blow for those still under threat.

The union is concerned that the government has made no commitment to prevent compulsory redundancies and concerned that, again, the proposals say nothing about improving pay for coastguards who are the worst paid in the emergency services.

These new plans must now be subject to full and meaningful consultation involving staff, unions, the public and other interested parties.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "We pay tribute to our coastguard members and people in their communities who have fought so hard to defend what is a vital public service.

"This fight is not over. We are committed to ensuring we retain the local knowledge of our coastlines that is essential to saving lives, as we are determined to defend all public services and our communities from the government's cuts."

ENDS

Notes

- For information and interview requests contact PCS national press officer Richard Simcox on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216

- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government. It has around 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, and in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich - on Twitter @janicegodrich

- Follow PCS on Twitter @pcs_union

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