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26/06/2015

Disruption but third of CalMac routes stay open

Ferry operator CalMac has confirmed that 90% of the routes they said would run during today's strike action are running.

The company is operating nine of 27 routes as normal or to amended timetables.

However, there has been severe disruption with no sailings on larger vessels to the Outer Hebrides, Coll, Tiree, Colonsay, Islay or Arran.

"Obviously we are disappointed that the strike has gone ahead, but I would like to thank our staff who are working hard to keep our lifeline services open. They have managed to rebook 95% of passengers who were due to sail with us today and we are still carrying 40% of our normal capacity," said CalMac, managing director, Martin Dorchester.

"The RMT has to think again about our generous offer to build a no compulsory redundancies offer into our forthcoming bid for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry contract. What other organisation either in the public and private sector offers such a cast iron guarantee over job security?

"The offer is still on the table along with other discussions around terms and condition, so, I say to them let's put this harmful action behind us and get back to talks."

The Lochranza Claonaig route to Arran is the only sailing that was advertised to run today but isn't due to strike action.

CalMac has been pulling out all the stops to minimise disruption caused by the strike. The Isle of Lewis will, as planned, run an overnight sailing Oban to Barra on Saturday to ensure runners on the Barrathon get to the start line in time. The Loch Seaforth will pick up a planned extra sailing Ullapool Stornoway on Saturday ensuring there is no ongoing disruption and the promised additional summer sailing to the Outer Hebrides goes ahead.

The company's Operations Team have been working round the clock to successfully reroute passengers attending seven weddings taking place across the Western Isles this weekend.

"Putting weddings at risk is just one of the very human consequences this strike is having, I'm grateful for the efforts of staff to salvage people's big day, but this cannot go on, it is damaging the social and economic fabric of our communities," added Mr Dorchester.

"Let's get back to the table and talk about how we can sensibly safeguard all our employees and work together to win this new contract. That is the best way of securing jobs and conditions for the long term."

ends

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