RMT fear threats to CalMac Routes

Thanks to a reader of this blog who just e-mailed this press release from the RMT

RMT warns of cuts threat to CalMac Ferries serving Scotland's Western Isles
Publication Date: September 24 2009

MARITIME UNION RMT today called on the Scottish Parliament to end speculation that some of the routes served by Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries out of the Clyde and into the Western Isles of Scotland are under threat.

RMT has been tipped off by senior civil servants that cuts to some CalMac routes are under consideration and have demanded that the Scottish Executive give a cast iron assurance that there will be no reductions in the current services and the routes operated.
Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said:

"The CalMac Hebridean and Clyde Ferries are a vital part of the transport infrastructure of Scotland and we are asking for an absolute assurance from the Scottish Executive that there will be no cuts on any of the routes currently operated.

"We know that cuts in services have been moved up the political agenda by all of the political parties in the past few weeks and we are sending out a clear warning that any attempts to axe CalMac services will meet with fierce resistance from RMT and the wider labour and trade union movement in Scotland.

"RMT have also repeatedly warned against the breaking up of the Clyde and Hebrides ferry network as it is a major concern that the Scottish Government have not ruled this option out as part of their review of Scottish ferry services."

END of RMT Press Release

Comment: My personal opinion is that this could well be chaff and false leads put by officials as a distraction for the real threats - they will eventually announce the "good news" and "victory" that all routes have been "saved" (in fact, the Commission made clear from the beginning that no routes or services were under threat) and before the relief fades the bad news will be snuck under the wire and could include elements along the lines that I flagged up on my earlier blog - where the risks include unbundling Calmac, and bidders not having to be bound to CMAL vessels for the routes.

Those briefing along the lines of threats to services will also hope that it will take some time before the implications of the bad news sinks in

Or maybe I am just too cynical

Neil Kay, 24th September 2009