RMT slams EU inquiry into CalMac subsidies
RMT: April 17 2008
Inquiry should be into £17 million wasted on tendering, says union.
THE EU has no business launching an inquiry into Scotland's subsidy for Caledonian MacBrayne's lifeline ferry services, maritime union RMT said today.
The union today condemned the SNP for engineering a Brussels inquiry which could only undermine public service and make it easier for privateers to pocket public money.
"At the end of the day it should be no business of the European Union what or how much subsidy is paid by Scottish taxpayers to maintain their own lifeline ferry services," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.
"If there is an inquiry it should a Scottish inquiry into why £17 million of Scottish taxpayers' money has been wasted on a tendering process in the first place.
"That process was unnecessary, wasteful and damaging and the money should have been invested in building even better ferry services for the island communities.
"The SNP opposed CalMac tendering when they were in opposition and had the chance to scrap it and affirm that CalMac should remain a public asset, yet one of its first U-turns once it got elected was deciding meekly to go along with it.
"Only last week we had another U-turn on its policy of public ownership of Scotland's railways with their murky decision to extend the First Group's franchise before Audit Scotland had a chance to finish its report on its performance
"Now we have an EU inquiry prompted by an SNP MEP and immediately applauded by privateer operators who would like nothing better than to pocket public subsidies that are quite properly going to a publicly owned and controlled ferry company.
"We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Scottish transport minister, not least because this latest attack on CalMac threatens to undermine the jobs, pensions and conditions of the people who provide the island communities' lifeline ferry services," Bob Crow said.