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No Case for Privatisation of CalMac Academic Report confirms

3 March 2016

A report published on Tuesday by Economics and Ferries expert, Jeanette Findlay, argues there is no economic or moral argument for the privatisation of the Clyde Hebrides Ferries Services currently run by CalMac.

 A report published on Tuesday by Economics and Ferries expert, Jeanette Findlay, argues there is no economic or moral argument for the privatisation of the Clyde Hebrides Ferries Services currently run by CalMac.

Findlay, a Senior Lecturer in economics at Glasgow University, said

“The public sector option, run by CalMac, is facing in the same direction as the Scottish Government in terms of its Fair Work policy, the Ferries Plan and its own economic plan. If the Scottish Government wants a fair, productive workforce it makes no sense to endanger that in CalMac.”

Findlay’s report points to Serco’s poor track record on maintenance, staff training and safety, on the Northern Isles route, which it won in 2012. Her report also highlights an incident in 2011 on the Woolwich Ferry where Serco was found guilty of ‘failing to ensure the health and safety’ of the crew of the Ernest Bevan which led to the death of a teenage deckhand and to Serco’s losing that contract.

The report, which was commissioned by the RMT, states that there is no suggestion that the Clyde Hebrides Ferry Service is run inefficiently and notes that since 2008 CalMac has returned over £10million to the Scottish taxpayer.

Responding to the report today Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of the TSSA union said

“CalMac is a lifeline public service, vital for the economy and wellbeing of the Islands. It’s not a rich man’s toy to be touted around to the highest bidder.  The franchising system wastes time and money as staff are diverted from running the company to putting together a bid. It introduces uncertainty into the pension scheme, meaning ordinary working men and women pay more and get less.

Last year TSSA members showed that they were willing to strike to protect their pensions, jobs and conditions. We will continue to fight alongside our sister unions and the STUC any attempt to privatise CalMac including taking part in industrial action to should it become necessary to safeguard this vital lifeline service.”

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