Alex Salmond Says No to Ferry Routes Split up

Those of you that follow the Ferries Review and upcoming tender of ferry services have hopefully read the excellent article on the ForArgyll website titled "Official: David MacBrayne Group’s CEO ‘has not resigned’?". It's a lengthy article and the bottom line is that there are grounded fears that a split-up of ferry services in the west of Scotland might be possible due to the upcoming tender. This could be the end of Calmac as we know it and it's a reason for Calmac employees for a possible strike to secure their pension rights which they are afraid to lose if the future of Calmac becomes uncertain. ForArgyll wrote: "The Scottish Government, since it published the Ferries Review document, has been promising a policy statement on the west coast ferry services. This has still not materialised. It cannot be long now. CalMac’s contract to deliver these services runs out in September next year, 2013. Between now and then, the Scottish Government must produce tender specifications, put them out to tender and award the contract or contracts – presumably in good time before the start of the new contract term. " Continue reading...

"If the government were going to unbundle and rebundle the routes, it might offer some routes singly – like Arran, Mull and Stornoway or offer some in clusters – like the Small Isles and the Clyde services to Bute and the Cumbraes. The greatest risk of unbundling to the communities dependent upon the internationally recognised and approved ‘lifeline services’ is the loss of CalMac’s ability, as sole service provider, to juggle appropriate ships between routes to cover service, refit and emergency absences."

Today the Scotsman wrote that Alex Salmond appears to rule out Calmac's west coast ferry route network being split up. "The First Minister told MSPs the Scottish Government had no plans to unbundle the Clyde and Hebrides ferry service. The case for unbundling, in our estimation, has not been made. The statement follows concern from Labour and the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT)union that ministers would hive off CalMac’s four busiest routes, as suggested in their 2010 consultation on future ferry services. Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary Grahame Smith said: “The STUC was delighted to hear the First Minister state unequivocally that the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services would not be unbundled. The Scottish Government has clearly listened to the compelling arguments made by trade unions and others that the economies of scale and operational efficiencies provided by the bundle must be retained.”

Tag: ferry calmac tender