1 March 2016
RMT Press Office
A new independent report by Jeanette Findlay Economics Lecturer at Glasgow University and respected analyst of the economics of Scottish ferries has reinforced the case of keeping CalMac in the public sector and warned of the dangers of privatisation.
The report, commissioned by the CalMac union RMT, will launched in the Scottish Parliament today and reaches a number of conclusions that the union says makes a overwhelming case for keeping the operation of lifeline ferry services in the public sector.
- CalMac has operated in an efficient, innovative and strategic way on the current CHFS contract and has shared with the Scottish Government all the benefits of cost savings.
- CalMac has the potential to be a leader for the economy as a whole in delivering fair work, good quality work, training and innovation, as well as a good quality service to passengers and the public. Indeed, to a considerable degree, it was found that CalMac already is leading in these areas of the Scottish economy.
- In contrast, there was much less evidence that Serco Caledonian could or would wish to play that role and its motivation and focus in winning the CHFS tender is naturally based on its status as a profit-seeking entity.
- The report finds that Serco Group the owner of Serco Northlink has an extremely troubled history in relation to its public sector contracts; it has no significant experience in the maritime industry and its financial health and business model raise concerns.
- The economic value of a public sector provider to the fragile island economies and to the Scottish economy remains enhanced relative to that of the private sector provider examined here and, possibly, relative to that of any private sector operator.
- The estimated costs of tendering remain very high in the context of very limited scope for cost savings in the operation of the tender.
- The perverse outcome that if CalMac were to lose the CHFS tender then competition well into the future would be destroyed remains a very significant risk and a striking example of an unintended consequence of the tendering process.
The report will be launched today Tuesday 1st March, 1-3pm in the Scottish Parliament, Committee Room 2.
Speakers at the launch will include Steve Hedley, RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary, Shadow Transport Spokesperson David Stewart MSP and Jeanette Findlay.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said:
“This is a sober analysis of the economic case for keeping CalMac public which finds, resoundingly in favour of the 2016-24 CHFS contract being awarded to CalMac, in order to preserve and increase the considerable economic benefits of publicly funded services, good employment and training standards already in place. Scottish taxpayers, ferry workers and passengers cannot afford these lifeline services being placed by the Scottish Government into the hands of Serco who would seek to drain profit from lifeline Scottish ferry services.”
Steve Todd, RMT National Secretary added:
“Jeanette Findlay’s report is a ringing endorsement of the vital role that CalMac’s near 1,500 employees play in delivering an efficient, affordable and popular lifeline ferry service to Clyde and Hebridean communities. The report also justifies the Scottish Government’s decision to invest hundreds of millions to 2022 in new vessels, IT, port and harbour infrastructure, maritime skills and passenger fares on this complex, 26 route network. Handing this jewel in the crown to Serco would be a scandalous betrayal of CalMac workers and passengers, not to mention the Scottish taxpayer.”