It won’t be plain sailing ahead for CalMac’s deal to use Pentland Ferries MV Alfred as the trade union, RMT, have raised concerns about its safety record as the vessel begins its sea trials on the west coast routes. The RMT has also suggested that this is a slide into privatisation.
In a statement released yesterday, 27th of April, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said:
“This is a scandalous attack on trade union agreements and will encourage private operators to lobby for unbundling and privatisation of the profitable Clyde and Hebrides routes operated by CalMac.
“£9m to time charter a vessel for 9 months that cost £14m five years ago is an appalling deal for the taxpayer, let alone the long-term threat this creates to jobs, terms and conditions, pension rights and the stability of lifeline ferry services in the west of Scotland.
“The trials being run involve harbours not on the CHFS contract, and six others that are. Pentland Ferries, Western Ferries, P&O and Serco will be looking to exploit this.
“This is P&O Ferries by the back door on Scotland’s public ferry services.
“It is not the first time that the crisis manufactured at Ferguson Marine has led to the chartering of ships which undermine the terms and conditions of employment for hard working CalMac staff trying to maintain lifeline services on ageing ships.
“But this is a clear attempt to further pit the valid interests of passengers against the equally valid interests of CalMac staff.”
Comparing the charter costs to the purchase costs is misleading and deliberately provocative. without saying what is included in the charter cost. Does it, for example, include the crew, maintenance and running costs?
Similarly the use of acronyms without explanation and triggers like mentioning P&O Ferries and Serco is simply scaremongering.
If there are concerns about safety, manning levels or working conditions please state them specifically so we can judge the validity of your comments.