19 May 2016
RMT Press Office
RMT has welcomed the Scottish government’s announcement that the next Clyde and Hebrides ferry services (CHFS) contract has been awarded to the incumbent public sector operator, Caledonian MacBrayne.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said that it was a major victory for the union and a successful defence of the principle of public ownership and operation of lifeline Scottish ferry services.
“The Scottish government has accepted the union’s arguments over the broader social and economic benefits of lifeline ferry services in the west of Scotland remaining in the public sector with CalMac.
“It is also a complete vindication of RMT members’ decision to take industrial action in June last year which secured meaningful employment and pension protections in the contract put out to tender by the Scottish Government in July,” he said.
National secretary Steve Todd said that the union had worked in tandem with the other CalMac unions and the STUC as well as a supportive public to defend and promote the public sector bid during this unnecessary and expensive tender process.
“Negotiations can now continue with CalMac on the Pension Fund and whilst the union is under no illusions as to the need for reforms to the governance structure at CalMac and ferry procurement policy, the fact that the bid from Serco was rejected should give all RMT members encouragement in the on-going struggle against privatisation across the transport industry.
“The union will also step up the campaign to secure an exemption for all publicly contracted Scottish ferry services from the damaging and pro-private EU regulation which demand regular tendering of these lifeline public services,” he said.