RMT criticises Scottish government for CalMac ferries fiasco

RMT criticises Scottish government for CalMac ferries fiasco

23 March 2023

RMT Press Office

Ferries union, RMT has criticised the Scottish government for failures in delivering two new CalMac vessels for the Clyde and Hebrides contract.

According to the Public Audit Committee report, there has been a profound failure at ministerial and government level in procuring two new ferries to replace ageing ships on CalMac’s lifeline Clyde and Hebrides services.
Vessels 801 and 802 remain undelivered nearly eight years after the contract was awarded and are now expected to cost over three times more than orignally budgeted.
The report by the Audit Committee found:
-  Both vessels are now millions of pounds over budget and years  behind schedule. Scotland’s taxpayers and island communities have been badly let down by many of those involved in the project
- There has been a significant lack of transparency and accountability  throughout the project.
- The serious allegations raised about the procurement  procedure for vessels 801 and 802 highlighted during the BBC Disclosure programme in September 2022 must now be thoroughly and urgently investigated by CMAL.
- The role of Transport Scotland throughout the vessel project is also a  matter of serious concern and interventions by Scottish Ministers
- While Project Neptune provides an opportunity for much needed reform of  the governance arrangements around ferries, we believe that a formal review of the entire project on completion of the vessels is essential in learning important lessons for the future and preventing a similar situation from happening again 
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "This report highlights how the SNP Government is turning on ferry workers and taxpayers to mask industrial scale incompetence and complicity in a bad deal for these two vessels which remain undelivered.
"Transport Scotland is also dysfunctional and overrun by the political interests of the government and big business.
"We call on the next First Minister to commit to a publicly owned and operated public ferry services, as a priority, in line with existing legal advice on state aid rules, otherwise our members will begin to wonder whether this epic tale of failure is a threat to their livelihoods."

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