Nationalise NorthLink

Our Ref: S2/1/2/3

29th August 2019

Dear Colleagues

Nationalise NorthLink

Further to Circular No. NP/0116/19 of 1st July 2019, I write with an update on the Union’s Nationalise NorthLink campaign and the Scottish Government’s award of the next Northern Isles Ferry Services (NIFS) contract.

The next NIFS contract is for up to eight years and starts on 31st October 2019. The Scottish Government stated in June that it expected to award this contract in August, during Holyrood’s summer recess.

Following representations from your Union, Transport Scotland confirmed earlier this week that the NIFS contract award would now be made in September. This delay is due to the complaint submitted to the European Commission by Pentland Ferries that the NIFS contract is illegal on State Aid grounds. That complaint remains unresolved and the Scottish Government is not party to the discussions between the European Commission and Pentland Ferries.

We continue to call on the Scottish Government to nationalise NorthLink. The uncertainty that this delay is causing is unacceptable, especially for NorthLink staff working hard to deliver summer services at ports on the NIFS network and on the Hamnavoe, Hrossey and Hjaltland passenger ferries.

The award of the next NIFS contract will now take place when the Scottish Parliament is sitting and we are working with MSPs in the RMT Parliamentary Group to maintain the pressure on the Scottish Government to nationalise NorthLink and to expose Pentland Ferries’ profit-driven attack on staff and passengers on contracted lifeline ferry services in Scotland.

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