LIGHTHOUSE workers ensuring vessels pass safely through Scottish waters will walk out over a pay dispute for the first time.

Around 40 people employed by the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) will stop work at noon on Monday at the start of 24 hours of strike action.

The Unite union, which represents the seafarers, base assistants, cooks and technicians, blamed the UK Government for the dispute, claiming the NLB has been forced to offer a 2% pay increase while other public sector workers are offered significantly more.

The workers maintain and operate Scotland’s lighthouses, beacons and buoys at sea.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham: “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.”

The union has said the NLB’s two vessels will be docked at Oban, with picket lines in place around 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 water.”

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