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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 17:10 GMT
Union scraps ferry strike plan
A CalMac ferry
RMT chiefs called off CalMac strike action
A planned strike by ferry workers has been officially called off following a union meeting.

The RMT agreed to scrap the walkout after being given assurances from Caledonian MacBrayne and the Scottish Executive about pay and conditions.

Up to 400 staff had planned a 12-hour strike on Wednesday.

The action was over fears that opening up the state-owned company's Clyde and west coast ferry routes to private tender would jeopardise their jobs.

Lifeline ferry services

RMT officials approved the guarantees received during talks last week with CalMac bosses, but vowed to continue the campaign against proposals to open up services to tendering.

The union's general secretary Bob Crow said: "This is an outstanding victory for the security of our members' jobs, pay, conditions and pensions.

"Our members have also won guarantees there will be no attempt to impose a two-tier workforce in future.

"We will of course continue to campaign and apply pressure on the executive to ensure the threat of tendering is removed once and for all from CalMac's lifeline ferry services."
This is a very positive outcome which enables us to focus all our efforts on what is clearly a very important week for the company
Lawrie Sinclair
CalMac managing director

CalMac managing director Lawrie Sinclair said: "The meeting last week was very constructive and I am pleased that the RMT union had decided to go beyond the initial suspension of the strike action to removing it completely by withdrawal.

"This is a very positive outcome which enables us to focus all our efforts on what is clearly a very important week for the company as we begin our summer service timetable on Friday."

Union chiefs have been angrily opposing plans to put CalMac's lifeline ferry routes out to commercial tender.

The executive - which owns CalMac - has insisted European rules mean that all its west coast routes must be opened up.

However, after meetings last week Transport Minister Nicol Stephen said: "All our efforts over the next few weeks should be put into avoiding the need to tender these vital lifeline services."


SEE ALSO:
Ferry deal to go to RMT executive
17 Mar 05 |  Scotland
CalMac staff back strike action
14 Mar 05 |  Scotland
Unions make 'Alice' CalMac claim
08 Mar 05 |  Scotland
Talks on ferry strike break down
18 Feb 05 |  Scotland


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