RMT: Vote to Leave EU to Stop Scottish Ferries Privatization

Image Courtesy: CalMac

UK’s Transport union RMT called for a vote to leave the EU in the forthcoming EU referendum in order to prevent the Scottish ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne’s (CalMac) services from being privatized, the union said on April 18.

Clyde and Hebrides Ferry services, currently operated in the public sector by Caledonian MacBrayne, are being put out to tender under EU regulations with UK’s Serco Caledonian Ferries bidding to take over the service.

The Scottish Government has refused calls to announce the winner of the contact prior to the Scottish Parliament elections and the contract was scheduled to be awarded at the end of May but not start until October 2016, after the EU referendum in June.

The ferry tendering timetable was set prior to the EU referendum date being known and RMT believes it will be untenable for the Scottish Government to complete the tendering process under EU rules until after the referendum result is known.

“For some time now we have been arguing that the Scottish Government should stand up for Scotland and should stop the tendering of life line ferry services,” Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said.

The call was made by RMT General Secretary Mick Cash at a meeting at the Scottish Trades Union Congress (TUC), which launched its annual congress on Monday.

CalMac and Serco submitted final bids for a GBP 1 billion (USD 1.4 billion) Clyde and Hebrides Ferry services (CHFS) contract, which covers 26-routes, in March 2016.

The CHFS contract is for providing ferry services during a period of eight years in the west coast ferry network.

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