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March 1, 2016

Report campaigns for Calmac to be retained as a public sector vessel operator

A report published by Glasgow University economics lecturer Jeanette Findlay has called for Caledonian MacBrayne (Calmac), passenger and vehicle ferries operator, to be retained under public sector and had warned of the dangers of privatisation.

By Srijanee Chakraborthy

Calmac

A report published by Glasgow University economics lecturer Jeanette Findlay has called for Caledonian MacBrayne (Calmac), passenger and vehicle ferries operator, to be retained under public sector and had warned of the dangers of privatisation.

The report, commissioned by the CalMac union RMT was produced before the Scottish Parliament which had enlisted a series of inferences which according to the union, justifies the retention of CalMac in the public sector instead of awarding the government contract to Serco.

The report stated that Calmac had demonstrated an efficient, innovative and strategic way of operation while being enlisted under the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract, providing fair work, good quality work, training and innovation, as well as a good quality service to passengers and the public.

It claimed that Calmac had shared all the benefits of cost savings with the Scottish Government.

Calmac, when compared to Serco Northlink, has maintained a better record in light of the public sector contracts, as well as fair exposure to maritime industry.

According to the report, the economic value of Calmac, as a public service provider is more substantial than that of a private sector operator.

It also states that the estimated costs of tendering remain very high in contrary to the limited scope for cost savings in the operation of the tender.

RMT national secretary Steve Todd said: "Jeanette Findlay’s report is a ringing endorsement of the vital role that CalMac’s near 1,500 employees play in delivering an efficient, affordable and popular lifeline ferry service to Clyde and Hebridean communities.

"The report also justifies the Scottish Government’s decision to invest hundreds of millions to 2022 in new vessels, IT, port and harbour infrastructure, maritime skills and passenger fares on this complex, 26 route network.

"Handing this jewel in the crown to Serco would be a scandalous betrayal of CalMac workers and passengers, not to mention the Scottish taxpayer."

The report apprehended a potential loss of jobs for CalMac workers as well as a loss on millions of investment done by CalMac and the Scottish government on the shipping infrastructure if the contract is provided to Serco.


Image: An image of a Calmac vessel. Photo: courtesy of RMT.

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