Nautilus has welcomed a public consultation by the Scottish government that explores a direct award to CalMac Ferries Limited for the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract.
The Union has urged members to take part in the consultation and to encourage their families, friends and seafaring colleagues to do the same.
In November 2023 Scottish minister for transport Fiona Hyslop MSP announced that the government will explore a direct award to CalMac. That decision was based on a recommendation from the Net-Zero Energy and Transport Committee, to which Nautilus gave evidence earlier in 2023.
Transport Scotland is responsible for several different ferry services and works alongside partners CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL) and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) for ferry services serving the west coast of Scotland and on the Clyde.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: 'This is a positive step to ensure resilient lifeline ferry service for islanders and secure employment for those employed on the ferry services.
'We enjoy a strong productive relationship with both the Scottish government and CalMac and will continue to work with both to deliver top quality ferry services for islanders underpinned by good quality employment for maritime professionals.'
After the public consultation opened on 15 December 2023, members at Caledonian MacBrayne Crewing (Guernsey) were urged by Nautilus to participate and give feedback on the future of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (known as CHFS3).
Head of industrial Micky Smyth said: 'Nautilus will continue to engage with the Scottish government, Transport Scotland and with other recognised trade unions at CalMac and the STUC, as we work to ensure a direct award.'
The CHFS3 consultation document says: 'Scottish Ministers' preferred route for procurement of the next CHFS contract is a direct award via a Teckal arrangement, (which allows in certain circumstances for a contract to be directly awarded to an in-house operator, without having to go through a competitive bidding process). This would be subject to a satisfactory due diligence exercise, with a final decision expected next summer .'
The consultation period will run from 15 December 2023 to 8 March 2024.
To find out how to participate in the consultation and submit feedback, please visit Transport Scotland.