Member News: Call To Halt Ferry Tender Process From Inverclyde Council

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Member News: Call To Halt Ferry Tender Process From Inverclyde Council

Ferguson Marine

Councillors at Inverclyde Council have called for the ferry tender process being carried out by CMAL to be immediately halted and they have called on the direct award of Ferry contracts to Port Glasgow-based shipyard Ferguson Marine.

The motion, proposed by Councillor Colin Jackson and seconded by Councillor Jim Clocherty was agreed at the Inverclyde Council meeting (23 September 2021).

Councillor Jackson, the Council’s Vice Convener for Regeneration, said: “Any business big and small relies on a full order book. Despite the nationalisation, the most recent contract for ferries is set to go abroad. This decision will see jobs lost to Inverclyde.

“As we see with Ferguson’s the Scottish Government have no industrial or geographical strategy for Inverclyde or Scotland and directly awarding these ferry contracts to Ferguson Marine would provide job security for the current and future workers.

Councillor Clocherty, the Council’s Depute Leader, said: “A shipyard needs that continuous chain of work going and without that the business is facing the potential of job losses or jobs forced abroad to follow contracts.  We have a government-owned procurement system, a government-owned delivery agent and a government-owned shipyard.  These ships need to be built in Port Glasgow.”

The full-motion agreed by councillors reads:

Ferguson Marine has failed in the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire stage in their bid to build two lifeline ferries, failing to even make the shortlist.

Despite nationalisation and the Scottish Government taking full control of Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow, the contract for the two new vessels to serve the islands of Islay and Jura will instead go abroad.

The Scottish Government controlled Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns Scotland’s ferry fleet, have invited four overseas firms to bid for the contract.

As Inverclyde tries to recover from years of industrial decline and Scotland trying to recover from the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic, this decision will see many much-needed jobs and investment leave Inverclyde and move abroad.

1. Without the legal constraints of being part of the European Union, and having the power to do so this motion calls for Scottish Government ministers to immediately halt the tender process.

2. To secure the future of the yard, that the Scottish Government directly award the building of these two ferries and all future CalMac Ferry orders to Ferguson’s shipyard in Port Glasgow.

3. The Council believes that a Direct Award policy of all future CMAL ferry orders would provide a steady pipeline of guaranteed work to the yard which would be a strong foundation for future growth, protecting the jobs currently at the yard as well as creating many more jobs in the future. Accordingly, the Council instructs the Chief Executive of the Council to write to the First Minister to inform the Scottish Government of the Council’s position; request the Scottish Government makes a long-overdue determination on its policy position in regards to Direct Award and requests an urgent update on the Scottish Government’s long term plans for the yard after the two current CMAL vessels in the yard to be operated by Calmac have been completed.

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