Lighthouse staff agree pay rise of up to 15% after strike action

Lighthouse workers have secured a pay rise of up to 15% after taking industrial action.

Unite the union said the deal for its Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) members means an 15% uplift for the lowest paid workers.

The NLB maintains 208 lighthouses around Scotland and the Isle of Man, which have been used for 200 years to guide ships to safety.

The deal comes after Unite members at the NLB walked out on a 24-hour strike in July, following a previous stoppage in June.

Unite said the pay offer was accepted with a 98% turnout, and will see sliding scale wage increases, with the lowest paid benefiting from the highest rises.

Marine-based workers will receive a minimum uplift of £2,285.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s NLB members have emphatically backed a new pay deal negotiated by their union.

Sharon Graham
Unite boss Sharon Graham hailed the deal (PA)

“It will see a number of improvements to pay and also working conditions for our members, such as an increase in overtime allowances.

“Unite will continue to go the extra mile in support of our members’ jobs, pay and conditions.”

Around 40 members of the NLB branch of Unite, including able seamen, base assistants, cooks and technicians accepted the offer.

Unite said the pay deal includes extra holiday entitlement and a consolidated overtime allowance which is being increased to 20% of salaries.

A further proposal to change the working week from 42 hours to 37 will mean overtime rates will apply after the lower hourly threshold.

NLB’s mainland operations are based at its Edinburgh HQ, and in Oban, Argyll and Bute, where there are maintenance workshops and facilities for the construction of beacons and buoys.

Technicians are also based in Inverness, Shetland and Orkney, and two vessels are based in Oban.

The NLB had previously insisted that “as an arm’s length body of the Department for Transport, NLB is bound entirely by UK Government pay policy”.

Unite industrial officer Alison MacLean said: “The NLB workers provide a vital public service which helps keep mariners safe on their travels.

“The wage deal secured by Unite is a recognition of that invaluable work and it will make a difference amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.”

NLB chief executive Mike Bullock said: “The Northern Lighthouse Board recognises four trade unions.

“We are still in negotiations with the other unions and so we aren’t in a position to comment at the moment.”