Ferry strike threat over as RMT no longer ‘in dispute’

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The threat of strike action on Caledonian MacBrayne’s ferry services has been withdrawn.

The RMT union has announced that following the Scottish Government’s recent decision to award CalMac an interim three-year contract from the autumn of 2013, it is no longer in dispute with the company.

A CalMac spokesman said: “We welcome the resolution of the dispute and look forward to working with the RMT and other partners to prepare the company for a successful bid for the next CHFS contract in 2016.”

Transport minister Keith Brown said: “It is heartening that the RMT have today confirmed that they are no longer in dispute with CalMac Ferries Ltd which removes the threat of strike action and the significant disruption and cost this would bring to our island communities.

“The Scottish Government last week confirmed that CalMac will be awarded a contract to deliver services until 2016 which will allow the necessary detailed preparation work required to finalise the scope of a new Clyde and Hebrides Ferries Services contract to be completed.

“In particular it provides the time necessary to incorporate into the process the outcome of our final Ferries Plan - a key aspect of which will be to include consideration of expanding the network of services currently being delivered by local authorities, resulting in a larger contract.

“The certainty of unbroken ferry services as we take forward this vital work will be welcomed by all those who rely on them, and I look forward to positive productive discussions with the STUC and maritime unions as we seek to deliver improved ferry services for all our island communities.”