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Manuel Cortes demands end to CalMac franchising exercises during tour of CalMac ports

10 August 2018

Manuel Cortes, leader of the trade union representing port and HQ staff in CalMac, has demanded an end to the franchising of Hebridean ferries during a tour of CalMac ports

CalMac beat off Serco in 2016 to win an 8-year contract to run the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services. Unions and Labour MSPs argued at the time that the franchising system was unnecessary and a waste of public money.

And TSSA remains concerned that outsourcing the lifeline services to private contractors is still part of the SNP transport agenda.

Cortes said, “Everyone living or visiting the Hebrides knows the ferries are critical to their survival. That’s why we can’t let up the pressure until their future is secured as a publicly funded service and the franchising model that hinders its development is ended.

“SNP blamed Europe for tendering these services. We have contested this since these services were first tendered. But the cat is now out of the bag, the European Commission told the Scottish Government that it has nothing to do with them guv’nor.

“SNP ministers must now scrap any future tendering of these lifeline services. However, they have so far only parked the process. This is unacceptable and to add insult to injury, they have begun tendering Northlink services.
On Serco's watch fares skyrocketed and the quality of the service has spiralled downwards. The SNP Government should take these routes back into public ownership too by allowing CalMac to run them from 2019.

“It makes no sense to allow profits to be made on publicly subsidised ferry services. The SNP has run out of excuses not to bring these services into public ownership. Their EU bogeyman was put to rest by the European Commission.

“As we have always argued, it's a lack of political will in Holyrood which prevents Scotland's ferries, railways and busses from being run in the interests of its people rather than profits.”

Manuel is on an 8-day tour of the Outer Hebrides to visit TSSA members. He is visiting ports in Lewis, Harris, North Uist, Skye, South Uist, Coll, Barra, Oban and Mallaig.


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