The Comhairle welcomes the appointment of Lewis based Finlay MacRae as CalMac Head of Operations. Finlay who has previously served as CalMac’s Area Operations Manager for the North region, lives in Scalpay and will work remotely from CalMac’s Stornoway Office.
This is the first senior CalMac post to be based in the Western Isles and it is hoped that it will soon be one of many at senior management level.
The Comhairle has been lobbying for some years for the decentralisation and relocation of CalMac posts to the Western Isles. This point was again raised during last week’s discussion with Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands.
During last week’s meeting the Comhairle stressed the need for a new focus on training and recruitment in the islands to provide more locally based ferry crews. It is the Comhairle’s opinion that a locally based crew will ensure the resilience and sustainability of the service.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, the Comhairle’s Chair of Transportation and Infrastructure, said: “The appointment represents a clear commitment from CalMac to relocate jobs to the communities which they serve. CalMac’s decision also sits well with aspects of the Comhairle’s Covid-19 Economic Recovery Strategy which prioritises localism, community capacity and resilience.
“While the positives of this appointment must be acknowledged there is no doubt that the workforce balance between locally based and mainland based CalMac staff must be addressed. Local crewing and training should be made a priority that will improve the resilience of the service and help make savings to the public purse.”