ALLAN COMMENTS ON CALMAC STRIKE
SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has discussed this Friday’s Calmac strikes with Transport Minister Derek Mackay and raised some of the immediate practical problems which the strike presents to the traveling public in the islands. Alasdair Allan commented:
“The Western Isles’ ferry routes, as is often pointed out, are a lifeline service. The coming days are going to see significant disruption for families, businesses, hauliers, and the tourist industry alike.
“I have raised, with the Transport minister, immediate problems that many people now face, and also asked Calmac what more they can do to address concerns about the operation of the booking system over the coming few days which have been raised with me by hauliers. I have also asked what can be done to provide extra sailings on Saturday to help cope with demand at a time when services are booked out, not least in Barra, following the Barrathon event. At present, I am tentatively reassured that an additional sailing will be scheduled outside the hours of strike action to minimise the impact on this particular event.
“On the wider issue, the RMT and Calmac need to keep up talks, and the political debate about this issue needs to keep some key points in mind.
“Firstly, it helps nobody for politicians to raise the idea of privatisation, when the tendering exercise underway has to happen under European law - and indeed happened under Labour governments in the past too. It is not a matter in which the Scottish Government has a choice, and no decisions have been made about the future of services. The Scottish Government has given undertakings to protect Calmac employees’ terms and conditions and ensure that a fair, affordable and sustainable pension scheme features in the next operating contract.
“This is a reasonable basis on which to start a new round of talks and I hope that, working together, any further action affecting island communities will be averted.”
Isle of Lewis
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