7 February 2020
RMT Press Office:
CALMAC Ferries union RMT today submitted written evidence of the impact on members and services from the delay and overspend on the Scottish Government’s contract with Ferguson Marine for two new passenger ferries.
In response to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee’s request, the union has expressed serious concerns over the procurement, design and construction process that has seen delivery of two new ferries on the Ardossan-Brodick and Uig-Tarbert/Uig-Lochmaddy routes put back for another two and three years, respectively. With the contractor, Ferguson Marine now in public ownership the Scottish Government has the opportunity revamp the procurement process to deliver the next generation of zero carbon lifeline ferries desperately needed, from the Shetlands to the Firth of Clyde. This would revive the programme of replacing ageing ferries as well as maximising the ‘Just Transition’ benefits to Scottish workers and the economy.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“We welcome the REC Committee’s inquiry into this ongoing fiasco which has resulted from fragmentation and under investment in the private shipbuilding industry.
“Ministers are now in a position to use the publicly owned shipyard on the Lower Clyde to benefit lifeline ferries, services and the environment for the long term. However, this will be scant consolation to RMT members who could face three more years serving millions of passengers and their cars on ageing ferries that should have been replaced in 2018. We need to see a move, and sharpish, to greater public control and direction of ferry procurement so that these errors are avoided in the design and delivery of the new ferry for Islay.
“Passengers, island communities, businesses and my members are crying out for a new generation of zero carbon ferries across Scotland and public ownership represents the best mechanism for making this happen.”