Northern Isles Liberal Democrats have commented on the proposed industrial action by RMT union members who work on the Calmac ferry service in the Clyde and Hebrides.
Both CalMac and Serco – who run services in the Northern Isles - are bidding for the £1bn contract to provide west coast ferries from 2016.
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael said:
“The tendering process for the west coast ferry services should be suspended whilst a full investigation is undertaken into the awarding of the Serco contract for the Northern Isles.
“Last month it was revealed that Northlink’s cheaper bid to run the ferries was not considered by the Scottish Government. Ministers still have serious questions to answer about the fairness of that tendering process and the relationship with Serco. The fact that CalMac workers on the west coast are now voting for strike action shows that they have lost confidence in the whole tendering process. People in Orkney and Shetland will understand that quite easily! The Transport Minister can no longer be deaf to the voices of islanders."
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said:
“Once again we are seeing issues over significant ferry contracts playing out under the watch of the Scottish Government. It is clear that Audit Scotland must now be asked by the Scottish Government to conduct an independent investigation into the awarding of the Serco contract in the Northern Isles. We need this review to provide full clarity on the procurement process which the Scottish Government oversaw.”