Marine professionals to stage first UK strike


Marine professionals to stage first UK strike

Marine surveyors and other specialist staff in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will stage a one-day strike across UK ports on Thursday 6 March.

Prospect represents over 170 marine surveyors and specialists in the shipping agency.

The action reflects the anger among the agency’s specialists over a pay policy which has imposed below inflation awards for two years running and failed to act on promises to resolve disparities between MCA rates and comparable public and private sector grades.

Imposing the 2007 award means that more than 40% of Prospect members will receive an increase of less than 2%, with the most experienced professionals getting less than 1%.

The union argues that, coming on the back of the disputed award for 2006, MCA are penalising their most experienced and dedicated staff with a 3% year-on-year real terms cut, despite admitting that such a policy is causing an immediate staffing crisis.

The one-day strike will be the first taken by specialists in the history of the agency and coincides with action by coastguard staff represented by Prospect’s sister union, PCS.

Prospect’s President, Graeme Henderson, and Negotiations Officer, John Ferrett, will join the picket outside MCA’s headquaters on Commercial Rd in Southampton, from 7am onwards.

Members across the country will also demonstrate outside MCA sites at:

  • Anchor Court, Cardiff
  • Marine House, Aberdeen
  • Navy Buildings, Greenock
  • Crosskill House, Beverley, Hull
  • New Fish Market, Plymouth
  • Hall Road West, Liverpool
Negotiator John Ferrett said: "Our members do not want to disrupt the smooth running of the UK ports. They are dedicated professionals who wish to enhance the service they give to the public rather than diminish it.

"But in a climate where MCA refuse to meaningfully negotiate with the unions, consistently impose below inflation pay awards, blindly restructure the business in the face of fierce staff opposition, and recruit executive board members on huge market salaries while denying market-related evidence on the behalf of existing staff, they feel they have no choice."

MCA surveyors undertake vital survey work on ships required under UK law and international maritime safety regulations.