RMT says CalMac strike ‘will go ahead’

CalMac's MV Bute seen leaving Rothesay pier.
CalMac's MV Bute seen leaving Rothesay pier.

The RMT union has announced that industrial action on CalMac’s ferry services will go ahead later this week after talks on Monday ended without agreement.

The union’s members are to take action in the form of an overtime ban on Wednesday and Thursday and a 24-hour strike on Friday.

The RMT’s general secretary Mick Cash said: “The talks with CalMac have not made significant progress despite the best efforts of our negotiators and as a result the action goes ahead from Wednesday.”

That statement, however, is not quite mirrored by CalMac’s own position: the ferry operator has advised via its CalMac Updates Twitter feed that “We’re waiting [sic] confirmation of result of talks & what this means for our customers. We’ll let you know more as soon as we can.”

CalMac has warned that disruption is expected on Wednesday and Thursday and that severe disruption is likely on Friday.

The dispute has been sparked by the tendering by the Scottish Government of a new eight-year contract to operate ferry services in the Clyde and Hebrides.

Mr Cash continued: “It is extraordinary that rather than standing up for Scotland’s lifeline ferry services those who hold political power have resorted to ludicrous arguments about what does and doesn’t represent privatisation.

“That is a kick in the teeth for loyal and hard working staff who have given long hard years of service at CalMac.

“RMT members on CalMac rightly feel that they are caught in the crossfire of an unnecessary and damaging tendering battle that leaves jobs, conditions and pensions hanging by a thread. That is simply intolerable.

“RMT wants cast iron assurances and we want them now and we are committed to engaging in meaningful talks around that agenda as we kick off the first phase of industrial action.”

In a statement on its website CalMac has advised that “at this stage we are not in a position to say what services will be disrupted” and that “we will be keeping customers up to date as soon as we have relevant information”.

We’ve asked CalMac for that information as it relates to Bute, and will publish it on this site as soon as it is announced.