UNION bosses say lifeguards in Blackburn and Darwen stand to lose up to £3,000 a year as part of a wages restructure.

Strike action led by the union Unite at Blackburn and Darwen leisure centres began over the weekend.

Five dates for 24-hour stoppages have also been identified for this Tuesday, and January 18, 21, 25 and 28.

Union officials say the dispute centres on 14 lifeguards who would remain in employment - but at a lower grade under a borough council re-evaluation scheme.

Unite regional officer Tanya Sweeney has called for a "fair and realistic" deal for her members.

She said: "The reality is some of our members are being asked to work for less pay and £3,000 a year is a lot of money. This is a group of workers who do an incredible job of keeping people safe.

"The lifeguard role was evaluated 10 years ago and the job has not changed, so cutting pay at this stage is unfair and unjust."

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An offer is said to have been made to those affected. Currently 25 lifeguards are employed across both sites.