Shipping Union, RMT, will be holding a demonstration involving CalMac members and RMT activists on Thursday, May 19 outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, to coincide with the re-assembly after the elections earlier this month.
In what will be its first major announcement on transport policy, the winning bid for the next contract for Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) will be made by May 31. The only bidders are the current public sector operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) and the private company Serco.
The RMT demonstration, which will be held from from 11.30am to 1pm, will be demanding to know which way the SNP and Scottish Government will go with this crucial decision.
The union has contacted sister CalMac unions, the STUC and all MSPs in the new parliament to alert them to RMT’s plan to raise public awareness of the imminent announcement on the future of the national ferry operator and lifeline ferry services in the west of Scotland and to invite them to join the RMT event at the Scottish Parliament building.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members and their supporters are encouraged to attend what will be a positive demonstration of support for CalMac and the retention of publicly operated lifeline ferry services. We want to put all MSPs on the spot as to whether they support the CalMac bid or the Serco bid for the next CHFS contract and the union will use those replies to put further pressure on the Scottish Government to award this contract to CalMac.
“The Scottish Government have a simple choice when it comes to the lifeline ferry routes – they either back their own staff who run the lines as a public service, in the public interest or they back the profit-driven, specialists in failure from the toxic Serco brand.
“This is a massive decision that will set the tone right at the start for this new SNPadministration and RMT will continue to jack up the pressure for Scotland’s public services to be run for the public benefit and not as a private, money-making racket.”