Nationalise NorthLink

Circular No: NP/0167/19




Our Ref: S2/1/2/3


20th September 2019


Dear Colleagues


Nationalise NorthLink


Further to Circular No. NP/0153/19 of 29th August 2019, the Scottish Government announced earlier today that Serco are the ‘preferred bidder’ for the next Northern Isles Ferry Services (NIFS) contract which is for up to eight years from 31st October this year.


The Scottish Government has taken a backward step in continuing with the private operation of the NIFS contract at the expense of the public sector operator. Serco will continue to siphon profit out of £350m of public subsidy and hundreds of millions of fares revenue, money that should be re-invested in lifeline Scottish ferry services not used to prop up Serco’s failed model of privatisation.


Your Union will be seeking an early meeting with Serco to spell out our demands for more jobs and training over the course of this contract and to make it clear that we will not accept any job losses on the NIFS fleet or in the ports. We will also be demanding that the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the RMT is extended to cover all workers carrying out sub-contracted duties as part of the 2019-27 NIFS contract, including the two freight ships Helliar and Hildasay.


Choosing not to nationalise NorthLink is a grave error that will only serve to embolden the likes of Pentland Ferries. We will be making these points to the Scottish Government at every opportunity. The interests of RMT members on the NIFS, Clyde & Hebrides and Orkney Council contracts will continue to be strongly represented in these discussions.


I would be grateful if you could bring the content of this circular to all members in your Branch and you will be updated with further developments.


Yours sincerely


Mick Cash

General Secretary