Ferry union’s strike takes effect on Bute

The RMT union is to hold a second 24-hour strike on CalMac Ferries Ltd on July 10. The last stoppage, on June 26, saw the chartered catamaran MV Clipper provide a limited passenger-only service between Rothesay and Wemyss Bay.

The RMT union is to hold a second 24-hour strike on CalMac Ferries Ltd on July 10. The last stoppage, on June 26, saw the chartered catamaran MV Clipper provide a limited passenger-only service between Rothesay and Wemyss Bay.

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A 24-hour strike by the RMT union over fears a private operator could take over most of Scotland’s ferry services began at midnight.

On Bute, the main effect of the strike is the suspension of Caledonian MacBrayne’s normal vehicle and passenger service operated by MVs Bute and Argyle.

A limited passenger-only service using MV Clyde Clipper, chartered from Clyde Marine for the day, is in operation - the next sailings, at the time of writing, are at 10am from Wemyss Bay and 11am from Rothesay, with further departures from Wemyss Bay at 5pm, 7pm and 8.45pm, and from Rothesay at 6pm and 8pm.

CalMac’s Rhubodach-Colintraive crossing at the north end of Bute is currently operating as normal.

Meanwhile, a motion has been tabled in the Scottish Parliament calling for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service (CHFS) network to remain in public hands rather than for a new eight-year contract to be awarded to private sector firm Serco.

The motion, in the name of independent (and former SNP) Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie, has, at the time of writing, attracted the support of ten MSPs - six of them from Labour, one from the Greens (Alison Johnstone) and one from the SNP (John Mason), along with two former SNP members - John Wilson and Jean Urquhart, who, along with Mr Finnie, resigned from the SNP in 2012 over the party’s stance on membership of NATO.

The RMT’s general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “It is clear that the CalMac workers, locked into a battle for the very future of these lifeline ferry services , are drawing in broad political and public support as the issues at the heart of the dispute are exposed and the smokescreen of misinformation melts away.

“There are now no excuses. The assurances on jobs, staffing, safety and the future of the ferry services that RMT has been seeking from the start should be met as a matter of urgency to allow us to move forwards with security and certainty.

“RMT members are rock solid in their support for the action we have been forced to take to defend CalMac from an unnecessary and damaging attack and the ball is now firmly in CalMac’s court and we expect them to act swiftly now.”