Trade union RMT has launched a campaign to give the ferry services to Orkney and Shetland, currently run by Serco NorthLink, the same status as CalMac on the Scottish West Coast. RMT aims at, “more frequent, affordable and reliable ferries to the Northern Isles, on properly staffed vessels which are all covered by the collective bargaining agreement with the RMT union. All this can be achieved under public ownership and operation.”
The contract with Serco NorthLink has been extended into 2019. The responsible Minister is looking at the possibilities of awarding the ferry service to an in-house operator, without the need for a EU tendering process. This could be achieved by a so-called Teckal Exemption.
Serco NorthLink Ferries runs the subsidised lifeline ferry contract since 2012. Before, the service was operated by NorthLink Orkney and Shetland Ferries, a joint venture between Caledonian MacBrayne and the RBS Group.
Source: ShetNews, RMT – Photo © RMT