Ferry routes must be kept in public hands

Scottish Green MSPs John Finnie and Ross Greer will today (19 May) show support for keeping Calmac in public hands by joining the RMT shipping union demonstration outside parliament.

The rally, involving CalMac members and RMT activists, will take place outside Holyrood between 11.30am and 1.00pm.

The contract for Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) will be awarded by the Scottish Government at the end of this month, with current public sector ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne up against private outsourcing company Serco.

Speaking ahead of joining today's rally, John Finnie, Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said:

"Public services such as the ferry routes along the west coast must be kept in public hands. These are vital transport links for our island communities and are best served through a company whose focus is public service, not private profit."

Ross Greer, Scottish Green MSP for West of Scotland, said:

"The experience of ferry users elsewhere in Scotland tells us we should be concerned at the prospect of Serco running the Clyde and Hebrides services. Serco has no significant experience in the maritime industry, and it is hard to understand how the public purse would benefit from such a shift in provider.

"Greens strongly support the workers who are affected by this bidding process and urge ministers to see sense, and keep Calmac public."