RMT’s CalMac strike ballot opens

Caledonian MacBrayne's ferry MV Argyle in Rothesay Bay.
Caledonian MacBrayne's ferry MV Argyle in Rothesay Bay.

A ballot of RMT union members working for CalMac Ferries Ltd is now under way.

Ballot papers were despatched on Thursday to the affected members following the union’s declaration last week of a ‘formal dispute’ with the ferry operator over what it says are threats to jobs, pensions and working conditions.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The clock is ticking and the union has no alternative but to begin balloting CalMac members for strike action and industrial action short of strike action, in order to secure our members’ rights during this period of increasing uncertainty and insecurity.”

“RMT remains available for talks.”

The RMT’s strongest CalMac presence is on the larger Firth of Clyde ferries, including the Rothesay-Wemyss Bay route; crew members on teh Rhubodach-Colintraive ferry are members of a different union.

* Meanwhile, a strike by RMT members working for Network Rail is still expected to go ahead on Monday, May 25 and Tuesday, May 26, causing major disruption to train services all over the UK.

ScotRail has advised that no trains will run on the Wemyss Bay line in the event of the strike going ahead, meaning there will be no rail connections for ferry passengers travelling to or from Rothesay.

The TSSA union, which also represents railway staff - though in much smaller numbers than the RMT - has suspended a strike which was due to happen at the same time as the RMT stoppage, though train services across the country are still expected to be severely affected.