6 December 2017
RMT Press Office:
As Scottish Parliament debates inter-island ferry services shipping union RMT sets out key demands.
With the Lib Dems tabling a motion in the Scottish Parliament on Scotland's inter-island ferries, shipping union RMT has set out three key demands to protect the future of the life-line services;
* RMT supports the inclusion of inter-island ferry services currently owned, operated and funded by Orkney and Shetland local authorities in a re-drawn contract for Northern Isles Ferry Services from October 2019. This option should be assessed as part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing Ferry Law Review.
* Bringing these lifeline services under public ownership through Transport Scotland would provide certainty over future funding and investment in these vital ferry services whilst preserving local knowledge over operations, fares and timetabling.
* Orkney Ferries is currently in dispute with the recognised trade unions, RMT, Nautilus and Unite, after members rejected the employer’s latest pay offer. The issues at the heart of this dispute must be urgently addressed by the employer.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The failure to tackle the long standing gap in funding for inter-island ferry services on Orkney and Shetland is having a detrimental effect on passengers and staff. It is frustrating that the Scottish Government identified this problem five years ago in the Ferries Plan, including the need to replace the ageing fleet of vessels serving Orkney’s communities.
"Now is the time for the Scottish Government to take radical action by including Orkney and Shetland routes in the contract for Northern Isles Ferry Services.”
RMT National Secretary Steve Todd added:
“The record levels of investment in the Scottish ferry industry need to benefit inter-island services, which are also lifeline for remote Orkney and Shetland communities. This should be accompanied by reforms to bring those services in-house in the NIFS contract, under the David MacBrayne umbrella.
"The Scottish Government must nationalise NorthLink and inter-island ferry services at the earliest opportunity.”