Local News for Friday 20th May 2016
CalMac wins the contract
CalMac ferries will continue to serve all the routes around the Western Isles, with the announcement yesterday that they were winners of the £900 million contract to serve the Clyde and Hebrides ferry routes for the next eight years. The Scottish Government contract was awarded against a bid from private operators Serco, whose bid was judged ‘non-compliant’ with the requirements of the contract. Immediately after the announcement CalMac managing director Martin Dorchester said: “This announcement means that going forward we are the operator of choice for two contracts - the operations contract for Transport Scotland and the harbours contract for CMAL. We will now enter a stand-still period of 10 days before the contract is formally signed. We are still covered by a confidentiality agreement with Transport Scotland. This means that we cannot provide any detailed information.However, as soon as this legal period has passed we will be able to share more details. Isles MP Angus MacNeil welcomed the announcement, saying that the news was a relief for ferry workers after the Scottish Government had been obligated to open the process to competitive bids due to EU regulations. He said: “Many of CalMac’s crews had told me of their nervousness about this process and what it could have meant for their jobs or terms and conditions. Now CalMac must continue to serve the islands and improve services where possible”. The unsuccessful company, Serco, who are allowed to appeal the decision on the contract during the 10–day standstill period, said the competitive bid process was good for the contract, although they had rated their own chances of success as low.