Councillor calls for campaign against ferry privatisation

A Western Isles councillor has called for Caledonian MacBrayne lifeline services to remain in the public sector and not be sold off to private bidder Serco.

At a meeting of the Transportation Committee of the Western Isles Council, Mr Donald Crichton said the impact of Caledonian MacBrayne losingthe contract to run ferry services to and from the Western Isles to Serco could have serious implications for local communities and CalMac employees.

The Loch a Tuath councillor said: “ We should come together as a Comhairle and impress on the Transport Minister that life line services would be under threat with such a sell off. Employees terms and conditions and jobs could also be on the line. We should write to Serco asking them to visit the Islands and tell us exactly what kind of service they would provide. That is the very least we should expect from a bidder for life line services to the Western Isles.”

He concluded: “There is a question as to whether it was necessary for the services to go out to tender at all. Under EU regulations the Scottish Government never legally tested whether the tender process was necessary in law. So there appears to be a desire on the part of the civil service and by extension ministers to see this sell off take place.”