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Ferry services to northern isles will be put out to tender again, Scottish government confirms

FERRY services to the Orkney and Shetland isles will be put out to tender to privateers again, the Scottish government announced today.

The contract, currently held by Serco, is up for renewal — but unions and opposition parties have pushed for it to be taken over by the state.

SNP Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said he would prefer the service to be awarded to a state bidder, but it had “become clear the preference of the local communities is for this contract to be put out to tender, rather than a direct award to an in-house operator.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “We are disappointed by the Scottish government’s reluctance to take the Northern Isles contract in-house on a permanent basis.

“We will continue the fight to release lifeline Scottish ferry services from the pro-private restrictions of EU tendering requirements and for full protection of our members’ jobs, pensions and terms and conditions as we enter another expensive and unnecessary tendering process.”

 

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