CalMac vital to Inverclyde

Monday 23rd November, 2015


The Scottish Cabinet are in town today and is often the case with these visits warm words and photo opportunities will be high on the agenda.

However, I hope Ministers will also take the opportunity to address a number of really important local issues including how they will secure the future of Inverclyde Royal and ensure that there are no further delays to the replacement for Ravenscraig.

Another issue that has arisen in the last few days is the future of CalMac’s HQ which employs 169 people and last year injected more than £9m into the local economy.

It was recently reported in the Ileach – the Independent newspaper for Islay and Jura – that private sector company Serco stated there would be “no head office” if it wins the 2016-24 contract for the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services.

Concerns have been raised for some time now that the headquarters would be closed down if Serco won the contract but this is the first time there has been any public indication that this could happen.

The Clyde and Hebrides ferry services which are currently run by CalMac were put out to tender in June by the Scottish Government. Serco and CalMac are bidding for the new contract.

We need cast iron guarantees from Serco and the Scottish Government that CalMac HQ and all the jobs that it brings are guaranteed for the long-term not just in the short-term required by the tendering process. Worryingly up until now these guarantees have not been forthcoming.