Union stokes up campaign against £351m privatisation of “life-line” service


The RMT has said its members will ballot for strike action if the new owners of Scottish Ferries change the company’s pension or working arrangements.

The union has given Serco, which is due to take over the service next month, until next Thursday to give assurances they will maintain the current working conditions.

Yesterday, the union has chalked up an important victory in its campaign to save the service, dragging out the full facts behind the value of the £350 million deal with Serco who are due to take over the Northern Isles routes on the 5th July.

Following a public confrontation with RMT, Serco have now admitted that the full value of the Norlink services is in fact £351 million rather than the £243 million announced by the Scottish Government.

In fact, the £243 million is simply the taxpayer subsidies to the company with the remaining £108 million made up from additional fares and freight charges.

RMT repeated its call for a halt to the privatisation of the Northern Isles services and also warned that the proposed sell-off of the CalMac routes will be set up to follow the same course of capitalist chicanery with pensions, jobs, fares, services and working conditions all up for grabs in the name of profit.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The murky business of the Norlink sell off is a bit clearer today as result of the RMT campaign as the true value of the deal to Serco has been dragged into the spotlight. Clearly, the SNP Scottish Government has misled people over the true cost of this privatised stitch up and that should be grounds for halting the deal.

“RMT’s campaign to defend jobs, services and conditions across the Scottish Ferries will continue and we will be ramping up the profile of the fight to save these life-line services from the greedy companies lining up to make a killing.”

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