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Maritime union warns of staffing fears

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Maritime union warns of staffing fears

On behalf of marine surveyors and other specialist staff in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Prospect has welcomed a select committee recommendation that management must provide evidence to back its denial of a staffing crisis.



On behalf of over 170 marine surveyors and specialists in the shipping agency, the union has repeatedly warned that year-on-year real term decreases in pay have meant MCA staff have seen their salaries slip considerably behind comparable occupations.

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The result has been serious staff shortages, affecting specialist staff such as marine surveyors. While MCA deny its staff vacancies have had any impact, the union says they raise questions over MCA’s ability to meet the government target to increase the national fleet and the agency’s reliance on classification societies.

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Prospect deputy general secretary Mike Clancy said: “The Public Accounts Committee expressed surprise that despite previous warnings, MCA’s management have not imposed a ‘robust and proactive’ recruitment strategy.

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“Far from it. While other highly skilled areas in the public sector, such as the nuclear inspectorate, have recognised the need to match private sector comparators when faced with a recruitment crisis, MCA are still in dispute with staff over the 2006 pay award.”

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Clancy added that morale had taken a further knock because of management’s reluctance to begin pay talks this year until two months after the settlement date.

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“Management are sending out mixed signals to staff. They have tabled an award that amounts to less than half a per cent for many surveyors, while the annual report shows members of the Executive Board have accepted awards of 8% to 27%.”

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Urgent recruitment and retention action is needed or MCA risks damaging the UK’s high international standing for safety and quality, says the union.Edward Leigh, chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, has endorsed the union’s criticisms of MCA’s pay policy.