A petition has been launched for the Scottish Government to invest in creating a publicly-owned and operated ferry service.
In a similar move to the Scottish Government’s nationalisation of ScotRail, passengers, workers and politicians are being urged to join the People’s CalMac campaign.
Ferry union RMT said it had started the campaign to put ferry services into the hands of the people who use it on a daily basis.
The Scottish Government announced last April that it planned to nationalise Scotland’s train services.
The RMT Union is now holding a day of action in Oban on Friday calling on the Scottish Government to invest in the ferry service.
The union believes the move would deliver reliable and more affordable services – which gives communities and workers a greater say in the running of the service.
‘Communities and passengers before profit’
RMT has said it is opposed to the privatisation of Scotland’s ferries and believes that these services must be publicly-owned and operated. That way, it said, the government would be “putting communities and passengers before profit”.
Currently CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL) is a subsidiary of David MacBrayne Ltd, which is owned by Scottish Ministers.
Mick Lynch, the RMT’s general secretary, said: “CalMac is a national asset providing lifeline services for many communities in Scotland.
“CalMac has a vital role to play in supporting the economic recovery of communities from Covid-19 but it needs sustained public investment to deliver the reliable, affordable and clean services necessary for this.
“That’s why RMT has launched a campaign for a People’s CalMac, starting with a day of action in Oban. The Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service operated by CalMac expires in September 2024.”
It is then that a tendering process will take place for the services to the prefered bidder to provide the service for the next eight years. The last procurement round was announced in May 2016.
‘Invest in a publicly owned and operated ferry service’
He continued: “We are calling on the Scottish Government to invest in creating a publicly owned and operated ferry service that delivers reliable, more affordable services and frequent services and which gives communities and workers a greater say in the running of the service.
“The cost of procurement failure, such as those outlined by Audit Scotland on Wednesday must not deter ministers from meeting the needs of workers or passengers.”
What is People’s CalMac calling for?
The People’s CalMac campaign is calling for:
Investment – for more reliable, frequent and extra services.
Affordability – with fairer ferry fares, including for commercial drivers.
More of a say – with a stronger voice for communities, passengers and workers.
Better jobs – already employing 1700 people, CalMac is at the heart of Clyde and Hebrides communities, as well as Scotland’s maritime industry.
The petition can be found at https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/a-people-s-calmac-no-to-ferry-privatisation