Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is deeply disappointed at the news that Calmac Ferries Limited have discontinued four call centre roles that were established in Stornoway leaving the affected staff out of work in these most difficult times.
As part of a wider cost cutting exercise Calmac Ferries have reduced call centre staff both in their central belt head office in Gourock and in Stornoway. The move to locate customer service jobs in Stornoway was accompanied by a pledge that Calmac would seek to locate support function staff more evenly across their area of operations and this move was welcomed as a modest step in the right direction.
With a range of Scottish Government policy including the Islands Act and the newly published Housing to 2040 Vision and Principles recognising the unique challenges faced by our rural and island communities and promising to take specific actions to stem rural depopulation and supporting communities to thrive it is difficult to reconcile these actions of the ferry company operating a Transport Scotland contract.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson Chair of Transportation said: “It is always sad to hear of jobs lost in our islands but it is particularly difficult to accept when we were led to believe that Calmac had recognised the responsibility they have to do much better in terms of locating staff in island areas and ensuring our culture and the Gaelic language is included in the touch points customers have with their organisation.
At the same time as HIAL have been exposed for running a strategy that will remove important air traffic control jobs from island communities we now find another transport company favouring centralisation over local accountability.
Calmac should make it a priority to find alternative roles for the affected staff in order to demonstrate that the very welcome Islands Act has some substance.”