Ferry operator Calmac are bringing new employment opportunities to residents in the Western Isles with the opening of their new customer service centre.
Five seasonal jobs will be based in Stornoway dealing with some of the 300,000 plus calls and 44,000 emails the company receives every year.
The company currently employs around 1,700 people from Campbeltown to Stornoway, 60% of whom live in fragile coastal or island communities.
CalMac’s managing director, Robbie Drummond said: “We are on record as saying we will look at boosting job numbers within the islands we support when the opportunity arises, and this pilot is an important first step on this journey.
“Although this may seem a modest move, it is a firm reinforcement that we are taking our communities wishes to see more support service jobs spread around our network seriously.”
Councillor Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, welcomed the announcement saying: “This is welcome news. We have long campaigned to see CalMac jobs located here in the Western Isles, amongst the communities which it serves.
“The impact of salaries in the Western Isles is much greater on the local economy than in the central belt and I would call on CalMac to give serious consideration to further devolution and relocation of jobs into the Islands.
“We would reiterate our suggestion that each and every island should have a fair share of central jobs and head office functions including senior management roles and would ask that the practice of centralisation of roles to a Head Office will cease and future vacancies will be advertised on a network wide basis instead of Head Office with a target of 30% of these jobs being based in the Western Isles by 2030.
“Not only would such a move be an economic boost but it would also continue to demonstrate CalMac’s commitment to the communities of the Islands.”