Rally for closure-threatened Clyde Coastguard station

Coastguard helicopter The UK government aims to close eight UK coastguard stations by 2015

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Campaigners fighting to save Scotland's busiest coastguard station from closure have held a rally in Inverclyde.

The Clyde station is set to close with the loss of 31 jobs before 2015 - along with Forth station - as part of an overhaul announced by UK ministers.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) held a public meeting in Greenock to oppose the move.

Speakers included Inverclyde Labour MP Iain Mackenzie and Ian Tasker from the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

Lynn Henderson, PCS Scottish secretary said: "We are proud of our coastguard members who save lives every day.

'Essential service'

"We will fight these closures and we hope that the government will finally see sense and acknowledge that the coastguard service is an essential emergency service which should not be cut.

Start Quote

There is no doubt that to close coastguard stations will put lives at risk”

End Quote Stuart Atkinson PCS union

"It's time for them to listen to the professionals who provide this service every day of the week."

In July, the UK government announced that eight coastguard stations across the UK - Clyde, Forth, Great Yarmouth, Walton-on-the-Naze, Portland, Liverpool, Brixham and Swansea - would close.

MPs were told that eight stations - Aberdeen, Stornoway, Shetland, Falmouth, Holyhead, Milford Haven, Belfast and Humber would continue to operate.

As part of the plan, the number of uniformed coastguards is due to fall from 573 to 436 by 2014/15.

Stuart Atkinson, PCS section officer said the rally in Greenock was also about trying to keep the seven other stations around the UK open.

He said: "We are fighting not just to save the Clyde coastguard station but the other seven stations who face closure across the country.

"There is no doubt that to close coastguard stations will put lives at risk and we have made this clear to the government."

Another rally is to be held in Greenock on 24 September.

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