Coastguard staff have gone on strike for 24 hours over pay levels, leaving a service that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency describe as ‘limited’.

700 coastguards walked out at 7am today, and will remain on strike for 24 hours, although those on strike are mainly rescue co-ordinators and not the actual rescuers. Trouble at sea would be dealt with as usual, according to the agency, with other ships being drafted in to help.

Coastguards are paid barely the minimum wage, says the The Public and Commercial Services Union, with the most experienced employees receiving just a 1% pay rise this year.

Mark Serwotka, the Union general secretary, said: ‘Strike action is a last resort and could have been avoided if the government and the MCA hadn’t continued with their refusal to meaningfully negotiate a satisfactory outcome.

‘Instead they appear content to pay wages just above the minimum wage, reward long serving staff with a real terms pay cut and to preside over pay levels that lag significantly behind other emergency services.’

The strike of coastguard staff began at 7am today, and will continue for 24 hours, with the remaining service being ‘limited’, according to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Coastguards will go on strike again on 23 April for another 24 hours.

To comment on this article, use the comment box below, or email us at Read more about the countryside.