CALMAC union RMT this week placed on record its support for lifeline Ardrossan-Brodick ferry services, as local workers and communities await the Scottish Government’s decision on the future of ferry services to the isle of Arran.
RMT were not invited to participate in the Ardrossan Harbour Taskforce but the Scottish Government’s decision on its findings will be critical to the development of CalMac services and vessels on this part of the publicly owned and operated Clyde and Hebrides ferry network.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said: “RMT support the proposals submitted to the Scottish Government for major investment in Arran ferry services from Ardrossan, investment which is long overdue. Making Ardrossan a modern, multi-modal harbour, capable of serving the social and economic needs of island and mainland communities should be a major priority for the Scottish Government. Improving rail and road links into Ardrossan, ahead of the new CalMac vessel for the Ardrossan to Brodick route next year, represents a real opportunity for Arran, Ayrshire and the Scottish economy.
“Local communities will benefit from more, long term employment and the wider economic benefits from a responsible increase in capacity, and we are pleased to see that infrastructure work at Brodick harbour is well underway.
“In our view, the Scottish Government needs to end any uncertainty and get on with developing Ardrossan to the benefit of passengers, staff and businesses. RMT is also clear that any proposals for new routes to Arran or anywhere else on the Clyde and Hebrides network should be developed by CMAL and operated by CalMac.”
Steve Todd, RMT National Secretary added: “We are encouraged by the prospect of significant investment in Ardrossan, to the benefit of CalMac seafarers, passengers and services. But the Scottish Government needs to convert these proposals from the Ardrossan Harbour Taskforce into reality. The Scottish taxpayer is spending £48.5m on a state of the art ferry from 2018 for the Ardrossan to Brodick route, and this must be delivered on time for workers, passengers and businesses. That needs Ardrossan to be ready for the new vessel, as well as the opportunities for developing road and rail links to the Harbour.
“We are confident that the Scottish Government will give the green light for that work soon. Opportunist proposals from private operators, attracted by talk of public investment are unhelpful and risk the introduction of low cost crewing practices on Clyde and Hebrides routes. That is something RMT members and their union will never accept.”