Fighting talk from Comhairle on ferries

The Comhairle is to ask the second company being asked to tender for island ferry services to visit the Western Isles.

At this morning’s (Wedneday) Transportation Committee at the Comhairle, it was agreed to invite Serco to speak to communities about what they have planned for ferry services if they were win the Clyde and Hebrides ferry contract. Serco and CalMac are the two companies being invited to submit tenders and CalMac have already held consultation meetings locally. Members of RMT union are planning to begin strike action next week over fears about the future of job security in relation to the tendering of the Clyde and Hebrides ferry contract.

The Comhairle will also reiterate their general views on island ferry services to the Scottish Government. The aspirations were outlined by Leader Angus Campbell.

He said the Comhairle had wanted to see a dedicated freight service for Stornoway-Ullapool; they wanted capacity issues at Stornoway to be addressed; they wanted to see triangular ferry routes broken up with dedicated services provided; the establishment of a ferry service between Lochboisdale and Mallaig and to see ferry operator headquarters relocated to the Western Isles.

They also plan to contact Citylink regarding bus services to meet the additional Stornoway-Ullapool ferry runs being operated by MV Isle of Lewis over the summer.