Scotland’s state owned ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne is facing the privatisation of five of the ferry services between the isles and the mainland: three in the Firth of Clyde; one to the Isle of Mull and the other from the Orkneys. The General Secretary of RMT, pointed out “The carve up of the Scottish Ferries services for private profit continues apace under the SNP administration”
The RMT shipping and transport union has balloted its members over action because employers had stalled on talks. The unions demands that: the transfer is dealt with under TUPE arrangements; that pension provisions are protected and the continuance of present joint bargaining machinery. Scotland’s administration have been brought to the table to have discussions with the union; the Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown will meet with union negotiators after the summer break.
In 2006, in line with EU inspired competition policies the Caledonian MacBrayne shipping company was forced to split up and separate its vessels, infrastructure and harbour installations, from the ferry operations which were put out to tender. CalMac Ferries Ltd runs over 20 ferries between the islands and the mainland. The Scottish Government following EU policies will periodically propose privatisation of these national assets.
Earlier this year in June Minister Keith Brown made proposals to invest £5 billion in the Railways over the next five years, which includes electrification. However the proposals included “deep alliancing” of rail companies with Network Rail, which as the Rail Union Aslef pointed out means private involvement in track and signal maintenance. The June Rail proposals also left the door open for the selling off of sleeper services.
For workers in transport, passengers and the 95% who constitute the working class on both sides of the border, it is time to see the British trade union movement as being a better protector of our interests than those who would govern from us Holyrood or Westminster.