IMPACT OF COVID-19 – CALMAC

26th March 2020
 
 
Dear Colleagues
 
IMPACT OF COVID-19 – CALMAC
 
In these troubling times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and world health emergency I write to assure you that your trade union is doing absolutely everything possible to ensure your health and safety is protected as well as your job security and your terms and conditions of employment remain in place and fully protected.
 
Your Lead Officer Gordon Martin and Full Time Coordinator Brian Reynolds took part in a conference call with the Managing Director and HR Director on 26th March and I can now inform you of the following.
 
It is Calmac Ferries intention to operate an emergency lifeline timetable from 27th March which in reality means a reduction from the normal winter timetable of around 60%. This will have an effect on crew required to operate the vessels. To be absolutely clear on this matter staff that are stood down by the company during this period will remain on full pay as now and Calmac will engage with the Government to reclaim costs. 
 
Calmac have informed your union that traffic has already fallen by around 85% in the last few days as the travel restrictions and lockdown on society begin to bite. We have been assured that Calmac Port staff will not be left lone working at this time and all local police stations have been notified and will provide immediate assistance at Ports in the event of people trying to board a Calmac vessel without the necessary authority. The company stated staff should not get involved in any disputes with in these circumstances and should remove themselves to a position of safety without delay.
 
Your union has also raised the fact that handling cash has associated health risks and we have asked the company to temporarily withdraw cash as a method of payment. The company have already considered this and informed us the will consider further and keep under review
 
Your union has also raised concerns that there are mixed messages in relation to crew members having recently been out of the country and traveling to work on return. Management stated they are complying with all Scottish Government guidelines and the emergency lifeline timetable will reduce issues of this nature further and provide clarity and consistency in the future
 
Your union further raised concerns around dry docking relaying fears raised to your union representatives that contractors are not fully adhering to social distancing while this essential work takes place. The Managing Director stated this would be raised with the yard as a matter of urgency while also stating the company want this work completed as soon as possible and their intention is to get the vessel out of dry dock without any unnecessary delay.
 
With regards to testing of staff for the symptoms of COVID-19 (the coronavirus) the company reiterated they are following all current Scottish Government advice while also advising that if testing kits become readily available they would certainly purchase them and they remain in discussions with the Transport Secretary and other Scottish Government Ministers and Transport Scotland officials.
 
Your union also brought to the attention of the company that isolated cases of staff’s children being refused access to educational hubs despite key worker status applying to these individuals. The company stated these issues should be flagged up to HR without delay while your lead officer also informed the company that the Transport Secretary has also asked that the union brings issues of this nature to the immediate attention of Transport Scotland officials.
 
Your Lead Officer and Coordinator will be having a further conference call with the senior management at Calmac next week and I will update you further following that call. In the meantime your Coordinator Brian Reynolds is in constant touch with the company and if your shipboard or workplace representative is unable to assist you with any issues please contact Brian on 07880 758640 or by emailing brian_reynolds61@msn.com or brian.reynolds@calmac.co.uk. Your Lead Officer Gordon Martin can also be contacted on 07884 655217 or by emailing gordon.martin@rmt.org.uk and the Glasgow RMT Office can also be contacted on 0141 332 1117 between the hours of 09.00 - 17.00 Monday to Friday.
 
Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary