Lennon hits out at CalMac over fuel waste and pay 'injustice'

Monica Lennon - MSP outside Scottish parliament

TSSA-backed Scottish Labour leadership candidate Monica Lennon today criticised CalMac for wasting fuel and damaging the environment running empty ferries during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The TSSA union, which represents port and shore staff, is locked in a dispute over pay after members rejected a 0.5% pay rise, branding the offer from CalMac an "insult".

Monica Lennon said: 

"CalMac must urgently get round the table, dip into their huge profits and put a fair pay rise in the pockets of workers who have put their own lives on the line to keep Scotland’s ferries running.

“SNP ministers can’t keep looking away while this injustice is happening. It’s also worrying that instead of reducing services to a timetable that reflects actual need, public money is being wasted on running empty ferries. The Scottish Government needs to start listening and act responsibly.

“Under my leadership, Scottish Labour will always stand with TSSA to fight for fair pay for transport workers and for public value for money.”

Manuel Cortes added: 

"It’s a ridiculous waste of money for CalMac to be running empty ferries, to say nothing of its environmental impact. We know these ferries are a lifeline service and some must continue to run to the islands. But tourists aren’t travelling because of the lockdown and as a result, demand has sharply dropped. ScotRail has cut back its timetable and CalMac should do likewise.

"It’s nonsensical to be running empty ferries, especially when you consider that CalMac claims it can’t afford more than a 0.5% pay rise for its heroic staff who have kept lifeline services running throughout the pandemic. If they’re so strapped for cash how come they can afford to waste fuel like this?

"Time for some good old-fashioned common sense. CalMac are owned by the Scottish Government so the buck stops with them. Transport Minister Michael Matheson and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon must step in and tell CalMac to run a reduced timetable to meet demand. They must also tell the Company to do this without having an a negative impact on its heroic staff just like ScotRail have done. And while they’re at it, they can tell the Company to get back to the negotiating table with us!"

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