Second ferry union calls CalMac strike ballot

A second trade union representing Caledonian MacBrayne employees has called a strike ballot over what it claims is the threatened privatisation of ferry services.

The Transport Salaried Staff Association’s ballot will begin on July 3 and end on July 13.

The TSSA represents one hundred ticket office staff and managers working for CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL).

The move comes on the eve of strike action by RMT members working for CalMac, whose members will stage a 24-hour stoppage on Friday.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “The Scottish Government is simply not listening to the unions or the general public which wants this service kept in public hands.

“We want long term guarantees on job security for our members and a recognition that the interests of the local communities will come first, not last.

“This plan is wrong headed and unnecessary. The SNP must not betray the people of West Scotland by selling off this vital transport link.”

Scotland’s transport minister Derek Mackay has already said the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract must be put out to tender to comply with EU law - a view also taken by the then Labour-Lib Dem administration which initiated the first tendering of the contract for west coast ferry services.

There are two bidders for the new contract - the state-owned CFL and private sector firm Serco.