Treatment of coastguard workers is 'scandalous'
A COASTGUARD campaigner said it was "scandalous" that employees at Swansea's understaffed coastguard station still did not know when it would close.
Mike Dubens, the co-ordinator of campaign group Save Swansea Coastguard, said he felt staff at the Bracelet Bay maritime and rescue co-ordination centre were not being treated fairly.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the UK Government agency which runs HM Coastguard, said the controversial closure was still scheduled for the next financial year, which starts on April 1. But it could not give further details.
"It's absolutely scandalous for these people to be left in limbo, especially after all the messing about," said Mr Dubens.
He was referring to the fact that Swansea Coastguard had been due to remain open under a UK Government review before a U-turn effectively sealed its demise.
Save Swansea Coastguard, backed by the Evening Post, campaigned to keep the station open and delivered a petition with 100,000 signatures to the Houses of Parliament in 2011.
The maritime rescue and co-ordination centre is Wales's busiest and dealt with around 1,300 incidents during 2012.
It currently has 17 employees but should have a complement of 23.
Concerns about staffing levels at the station, and others in the UK, have been voiced by the Public and Commercial Services union. The MCA said the second of two recruitment drives was under way and that when a station was under-staffed, "pairing" arrangements with another station — in Swansea's case Milford Haven — were put in place.
Swansea Coastguard is one of nine UK maritime and rescue coordination centres earmarked for closure out of a total of 19. The MCA said it was likely that Milford Haven, and a national maritime operations centre near Southampton, would cover the huge area currently scanned by Swansea Coastguard.