The RMT and TSSA unions have welcomed the striking of a deal to end their industrial dispute with CalMac Ferries Ltd.
Until Wednesday evening, the unions were warning that more strike action could not be ruled out in the row over jobs, conditions and pensions resulting from the Scottish Government’s tendering of the next contract to run subsidised ferry services in the Clyde and Hebrides.
But after three days of talks, transport and islands minister Derek Mackay MSP announced that a deal had been struck which would end the threat of further industrial action.
The two unions issued a joint statement saying the deal would protect existing terms and conditions and that whoever wins the contract - be it the state-owned CFL or the private firm Serco - would be required to provide the current CFL pension scheme.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Thanks to the hard work of our negotiators we have reached a clear agreement on the key issues which enables us to settle this dispute.
“I want to pay tribute to the solidarity and determination of our members which has enabled us to secure this agreement and I also want to thank the local communities who have supported us in this fight.
“Although the dispute is over the fight to retain the lifeline ferry services in the public sector continues.”
The TSSA union also issued a statement saying that “their aim to secure an agreement on employment, no forced redundancies, and pensions were secured”.
The TSSA statement continued:
“TSSA welcomes this agreement, which will secure the services for the community in the Western Isles.
“TSSA wish to thank all those members who gave TSSA the mandate to act on their behalf. Doing so showed that TSSA’s members were united on these issues.
“Together with our brothers and sisters of the RMT we have secured the livelihoods of our members.
“TSSA would also like to thank the community at large and special thanks to those living in the Isles.
“The [sic] will be no Profit for shareholders. There will be no SLASHING of the workforce. There will be no BURNING of communities.
“Thank you the members for your support. TSSA will keep members updated and call on all members to become involved. This latest campaign has shown what TSSA can do with the support of the members.”