Union calls for announcement on ferry operator before election

CalMac and Serco are both bidding for the Clyde and Hebrides contract, with the result expected to be announced in late May.

CalMac and Serco are both bidding for the Clyde and Hebrides contract, with the result expected to be announced in late May.

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A union has called on the Scottish Government to reveal the next ferry operator to serve on the Clyde and Hebrides network ahead of the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

RMT is calling for the current tender process, which allows a six week period to allow bidders to talk to Transport Scotland about refining their bids. to be shortened, with the winning bid announced before Scottish Parliament elections on May 5.

Caledonian MacBrayne and Serco are both bidding for the Clyde and Hebrides contract, which serves the Isle of Bute, with the result expected to be announced in late May.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The Scottish Government can no longer hide behind the tender process or the commitment in the Ferries Plan to open up Scottish ferries to greater competition.

“There are only two bidders for the CHFS contract - CalMac and Serco. It is a straight fight between public and private that does not need another six weeks of artificial competition which would rob the Scottish people of their right to know who will run these lifeline services, before Scottish Parliament elections on May 5.

“The announcement of the winning bid must be brought forward to the earliest date possible.”

Caledonian MacBrayne RMT members took strike action back in June, sparked by concerns about jobs, pensions and working conditions as a result of the tendering process.