RMT accuse Scottish Government of ‘P&O by the backdoor’

RMT accuse Scottish Government of ‘P&O by the backdoor’

22 March 2023

RMT Press Office

Maritime union, RMT accused the Scottish Government of conducting a P&O by the back door in time chartering a catamaran from anti-trade union employer Pentland Ferries to increase resilience on the embattled Clyde and Hebrides network.

Transport Scotland is spending £1m per month to charter the MV Alfred for nine months. The vessel will be crewed and operated by Pentland Ferries staff who are not covered by a trade union agreement and whose terms and conditions of employment are below their colleagues at CalMac, effectively undermining the collective bargaining arrangements on the network.

Mick Lynch, RMT General Secretary said: “We support extra resilience on the Clyde and Hebrides network, but to announce a new vessel without any prior consultation with the recognised CalMac trade unions is an insult and demonstrates a contempt for the conditions of hard working CalMac staff.

"Spending £9m of public money on a catamaran owned and crewed by an anti-trade union employer with a poor safety record is a P&O style race to the bottom in Scotland’s ferries sector.

"We need public ownership of all vessels on publicly contracted ferry routes in Scotland and we need to know under whose ministerial authority this decision was taken.

"RMT is seeking an urgent meeting with the Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth.”


Notes to editors

1. The RMT has written to the three SNP Leadership candidates seeking a pledge to support publicly owned and operated CalMac ferry services, in line with the commitment not to privatise or unbundle routes or services on the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract.
2. The MV Alfred is owned by Pentland Ferries which does not recognise trade unions. The UK flagged vessel was built in Vietnam for £14m and has been operating across the Pentland Firth to Orkney since autumn 2019.
3. The vessel is a catamaran and was involved in an accident in July 2022 when the Alfred grounded enroute to Orkney. The MAIB report into this incident has not yet been published.

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Tagged with: Pentland Ferries, Scotland