End in sight for Orkney ferry pay dispute

One of the Orkney Ferries' vessels. Picture: Orkney Ferries
One of the Orkney Ferries' vessels. Picture: Orkney Ferries
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AN end may finally be in sight in the long running pay dispute between Orkney Ferries and the three seamen’s unions.

Last month strike action by inter-island ferry workers on Orkney moved a step closer after the latest pay offer was rejected by the unions, the RMT, Unite and Nautilus International.

But it has now been announced that, following talks involving the arbitration service ACAS, the unions are planning to ballot their members on a new pay offer tabled by the ferry company.

Liam McArthur, the Orkney MSP, welcomed the announcement. He said: “As the latest disruption to these lifeline services takes effect this week, there will be relief at news that the basis for a possible agreement to this long-running dispute has been reached at last.”

He added: “Whatever the rights and wrongs of the dispute, it is the island communities who rely on these vital ferry services who have borne the brunt. Hopefully now there is an end is in sight and I would certainly encourage the trade unions involved to call a suspension of the current action, pending the outcome of the ballot.”

Orkney Ferries,operated by the island council, provides an inter-island service on nine routes between 13 island destinations.