Ferry strike on Bute: minor disruption Wednesday/Thursday, no word yet on Friday

The ferry service between Rothesay and Wemyss Bay is likely to be severely disrupted on Friday if industrial action by CalMac's RMT members goes ahead as planned.
The ferry service between Rothesay and Wemyss Bay is likely to be severely disrupted on Friday if industrial action by CalMac's RMT members goes ahead as planned.

Caledonian MacBrayne has published details of the extent of disruption to its ferry services for the first phase of the RMT’s industrial action this week.

Most sailings on the Rothesay-Wemyss Bay route will run as normal on Wednesday and Thursday, when the union’s 48-hour overtime ban takes effect, while the Rhubodach-Colintraive service will not be affected.

However, there is no word yet on the extent of disruption to either route - or to any service in the CalMac network - during the union’s 24-hour strike on Friday.

The only change to the Rothesay-Wemyss Bay timetable on Wednesday and Thursday will be the cancellation of the 7pm sailing from Wemyss Bay on both days: all other sailings will operate as per the usual timetable.

Details of the changes to services throughout the CalMac network on Wednesday and Thursday can be found at www.calmac.co.uk/service-changes/industrial-action-timetables

Speaking after a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience committee on Tuesday, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:“Ministers are speaking to CalMac and the RMT this afternoon to urge them to call off the action and return to talks. I would urge both parties to continue discussions in an effort to reach an agreement that avoids damaging strike action.

“CalMac have issued more detailed information on their website and are speaking to their customers directly. We are all working together to try and minimise the impact of this industrial action at a crucial time for the islands’ economies that are served by these lifeline services.”

Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “I have already provided assurances that a fair, affordable and sustainable pension scheme will be protected under the new Clyde & Hebrides Ferry Services contract.

“EU law requires the Scottish Government to tender ferry services. This was accepted by previous Governments when it initiated the first tendering exercise for CHFS, it is therefore regrettable that some are seeking to use the current situation to score political points.

“A record £1 billion has already been invested on port infrastructure, vessels and ferry services from 2007 to date, and we are determined to build on this track record. We have made clear our commitment to ensuring the continued delivery of safe and reliable services for ferry users.

“In the interim CalMac and my officials at Transport Scotland have made contact with bus, rail and aviation operators to see what additional services can be provided during this week’s industrial action and we stand ready to support the islands during this testing time.”