Second union votes for strike

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CalMac ticketing staff have voted to strike if the row over the future of ferry services is not resolved in talks over the next week.

Discussions are continuing to take place between the Scottish Government and the RMT and TSSA unions in the dispute over future working conditions in light of the Clyde and Hebrides ferry contract being put out to tender.

Talks are due to be completed by next Friday (July 24th) but the TSSA, who represent those working in ferry ticketing offices, has announced their members have voted for industrial action if the dispute is not resolved - adding to the looming threat of further action by members of RMT.

The RMT, who represent some of those who work on the ferries, called off a strike at the last minute last week less than 48 hours prior to a planned walkout - meaning there was still widespread travel disruption as people had reorganised plans in expectation of disruption.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said this week that the tendering process had not be delayed but that they had agreed to put back the issuing of the Invitation To Tender for the contract until 31st July.

Details of the talks taking place are few and far between but it is understood that there have been positive steps towards some agreement regarding terms and conditions for ferry staff.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said they would not be going into any more detail at this stage on the specific discussions.

He said: “We hope an agreement can now be reached without the need for any further industrial action and we will be working hard with CalMac and the trade unions to conclude these discussions by the 24th July.”

The findings of an independent study were published on Tuesday stating that almost two thirds of Scottish voters think ferry services should remain in the public sector while only one in ten support privatising the service.

The poll also found that six out of ten Scots supported the right of CalMac Workers to take industrial action to defend staffing levels, jobs and pensions.