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Lighthouse workers in Scotland take ‘historic and first in a generation’ strike action over pay | UK News

Lighthouse workers who help ensure vessels pass safely through Scottish waters are downing tools for the first time in a dispute over pay.

Around 40 Unite members employed by Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) will walk out at 12pm on Monday for 24 hours.

The workers – including able seamen, base assistants, cooks and technicians – maintain and operate Scotland’s lighthouses, beacons and buoys at sea.

Unite branded the strike action “historic and the first in a generation”.

The union is blaming the UK government, which finances the NLB, claiming it is not providing the extra funding required to improve the 2% pay rise offer.

Sharon Graham, general secretary, said: “Unite’s NLB members have been left with no option but to take a stand. What’s on offer is a brutal real-terms pay cut.

“With energy costs, inflation and interest rates climbing to heights not seen for decades, a 2% offer just doesn’t cut it.

“We will continue to push the boat out in defence of our members, and they will have our full support in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

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The NLB maintains 208 lighthouses across Scotland and the Isle of Man.

The union said two NLB vessels – NLV Pharos and NLV Pole Star – will be docked at Oban with picket lines in place at the Gallanach Road base until noon on Tuesday.

In April, workers backed industrial action by 90.6% on a turnout of 86.5%.

Alison MacLean, the union’s industrial officer, urged the Scottish government to apply pressure on UK ministers.

She said: “The strike action by our NLB members is historic and the first in a generation. The reality is that talks with the NLB have run aground.

“This is largely down to the UK government, who finance the NLB, not providing the extra finances required to make a better offer to our members.

“We are demanding that the Scottish government intervene and apply pressure on the UK government to resolve this dispute or it is in danger of remaining in troubled waters.”

The NLB said it is “bound entirely” by UK government pay policy.

A spokesperson added: “The current pay award was subject to an exhaustive Department for Transport (DfT) approval process, which leaves us with no room for manoeuvre.

“We have put contingency measures in place to ensure mariners are provided with an effective safety of navigation service while the action is under way.”

A UK government spokesperson said: “Public sector pay strikes a careful balance between recognising the vital importance of public sector workers, while delivering value for taxpayers and avoiding higher prices in the future.”

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