The managing director of CalMac Ferries Ltd has urged the RMT to get back around the table in a bid to avert industrial action which is set to cause major disruption to ferry services to Bute and other islands this week.
Mr Dorchester was reacting after talks between the two sides on Monday ended without an agreement being reached.
RMT members working on CalMac ferries will not work overtime on Wednesday and Thursday, and will strike altogether on Friday, in a dispute sparked by the tendering process for the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service (CHFS) contract.
“We are disappointed that our dialogue with the RMT to avert industrial action this week has broken down,” Mr Dorchester said.
“Our offer to provide assurance that we would include a commitment on no compulsory redundancies in our bid submission in return for the RMT calling off the industrial action planned for later this week was rejected. We were also willing to work together with both the RMT and TSSA over the coming days to agree a form of words in our collective agreements which would provide greater protection to employees around terms and conditions of employment.
“Unfortunately this was also rejected.
“Failure to keep these discussions alive will be a disappointment, not just to those who will be losing pay this week, but to potentially thousands of travellers who will be disrupted. The threat of strike action also has major potential to damage the economies of the communities we are part of.
“We are currently working on alternative timetables and contingency plans and will be doing all we can to ensure that disruption to these lifeline service are kept to a minimum.
“However, the travelling public needs to be aware that disruption is inevitable and that they should consider careful whether their trip is essential before travelling later this week.
“Our door remains open. We urge union representatives to re-enter dialogue with us as soon as possible and to give urgent consideration to our offer of no compulsory redundancies and protection of existing generous terms and conditions.
“Our aim is to do everything possible to avert any industrial action which will impact our ability to maintain the lifeline services we provide.”