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Manuel Cortes warning after CalMac pay talks fail "TSSA won't hesitate to ballot for strike action"

6 November 2020

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes had a stark warning for CalMac Managing Director Robbie Drummond today "we won't hesitate to ballot for strike action".

His warning came after last ditch talks to avoid a dispute broke down amid accusations of Transport Scotland interference.

Earlier this week pay talks broke down when TSSA rejected a “derisory” pay offer of 0.5%

Cortes said, “CalMac’s workers have kept the ferries running, delivering lifeline services to island communities during a global pandemic. Clearly, 0.5% is a derisory offer, amounting to a pay cut just before Christmas. Our members have rightly rejected it.

"Today Robbie Drummond attended an “avoidance of dispute” meeting with our reps where we might reasonably have expected a better offer. Instead Drummond doubled down on his Scrooge impression, repeating the offer we’ve already rejected.

“Last week Drummond sent a glossy postcard to every member of staff, thanking them for their “support, understanding and commitment” serving the island communities throughout the pandemic. This week we’ve seen what he really thinks of his staff.

“The ball is in CalMac’s court now. Our members have made it clear that they’re furious at this insulting offer and ready to be balloted for strike action. If CalMac don’t pick up the phone with a sensible offer we will not hesitate to ballot for strike action.

“The SNP government is very good at saying that they will protect ordinary people during the pandemic. Well on their watch, in a company owned by the Scottish Government, they want our members to take a real-terms pay cut. Transport Minister Matheson must step in and stop working people paying the price for a pandemic that isn't of their making.”

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Notes to Editors

CalMac made two offers to the unions. Offer One: a one year deal of 0.5%. Offer Two: a two year deal, Year One 0.5%, Year Two a pay rise of RPI.  Both offers were rejected overwhelmingly.
CalMac is claiming they cannot afford a larger payrise but have failed to provide us with costings to prove this, despite our now having asked on 5 separate occasions.  When we asked, CalMac did not explain why they thought they could afford RPI next year if they were genuinely unable to afford it this year, stating “we’re willing to take a gamble”.

A 0.5% payrise across all staff in the company amounts to £450 thousand. CalMac made £7.1million last year – as can be seen here This number was confirmed verbally by CalMac managers at pay talks.

All 4 CalMac unions, TSSA, RMT, Unite and Nautilus have rejected both pay offers. RMT is also threatening to ballot for strike action.

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