29th June, 2015
Assurances required for CalMac workforce
The last thing any worker wants to do is go on strike. The prospect of days or weeks without pay is a daunting one, particularly when there are bills to pay and a family to provide for.
Furthermore, no worker wants to cause inconvenience to the public or be put in the firing line.
However, speaking from experience as a former trade union official, there are times when there is no choice but to take industrial action.
This is certainly true of the CalMac workforce 200 of whom are employed at the headquarters in Gourock.
For over two years now, they have been seeking assurances regarding safe staffing levels, protection of services and pensions, yet no such assurances have been forthcoming.
The reason for their concerns is that CalMac services are being put out to tender and may be privatised as a result of one of the companies who is looking to secure the takeover.
Last week in Parliament I backed calls for the concerns of the workforce to be fully addressed.
It’s unacceptable that they have been left in the lurch for so long, particularly when you consider that they play a vital role in maintaining essential lifeline services to Scotland’s Western Islands.
I’m also supporting calls for CalMac services to remain within the public sector in order to provide protection and certainty for the workforce, passengers and tax payers.
I sincerely hope that the Scottish Government’s Transport Minister and Inverclyde MSP Derek Mackay, will listen to the many voices urging him to resist the temptation of the short-term savings that privatisation seems to offer.
Instead, he should come down on the side of the workers and the Inverclyde economy which would suffer if 200 jobs were to go at CalMac headquarters.