CalMac must stay in public hands – that’s the message from Scottish Labour and trade unionists today ahead of a demonstration outside of the Scottish Parliament.

In what will be the new SNP government’s first major announcement on transport, the winning bid for the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract will be announced by 31st May.

Private operator, Serco, is challenging CalMac for the £1 billion subsidy to run the Clyde and Hebrides network.

Scottish Labour Transport Spokesperson David Stewart said:

“CalMac ferries are more than just a mode of transport – they are lifeline links for families and communities.

Last year the SNP voted against Labour’s call to halt the CalMac privatisation process, despite previous promises they would not put the services out to tender.

These services are part of the DNA of our islands and simply should not be cherry-picked. It is essential we keep the contract in public hands to ensure the investment is there to provide our island communities with the vital ferry services they need. We’re backing the public service staff instead of private profit.”