RMT, CalMac Move into Dispute as Talks Break Down

After two days of extensive pay negotiations between Scottish ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) and the unions, UK’s RMT union said that the talks have broken down due to “the failure of the company to table an acceptable offer.”

The unions have now moved the matter into a formal dispute and RMT’s executive will decide on the next steps.

Namely, CalMac told the union side that their bid for the GBP 1 billion (USD 1.32 billion) contract to operate the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) network, awarded in May 2016, was based on CPI and from now on pay offers will be based on this index as opposed to RPI which is the traditional benchmark used in pay negotiations.

The company also informed the Trade Union side that they would no longer be paying the bonus, which has been paid at an established rate of up to 1.5% for over a decade, if the company makes a profit, according to RMT.

Furthermore, the management noted that people not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, which includes all the senior managers and directors, will continue to receive a bonus.

The company eventually made a final offer of 1.8% each year of a two year proposed deal, which represents the August 2016 RPI inflation figure. According to RMT, most analysts are currently forecasting inflation will rise to between 2.6% and 3.3% by the end of 2017 which means staff pay will fall behind the cost of living.

“These pay and bonus proposals from management are a kick in the teeth for those loyal and dedicated RMT CalMac members and will be resisted by all means necessary,” RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, said.

“All four CalMac Trade Unions are in dispute with the company and we will now be deciding the next moves,” Cash added.

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