Concern for jobs after £29m CalMac ferry maintenance contract awarded to English shipbuilder over Scots firm

A £29 million contract to maintain Scottish Government-owned ferries has been given to Mersey-based Cammell Laird over Dales Marine, which operates in the Garvel Dry Dock in Greenock.

The decision has sparked concern over the impact on jobs at the dry dock in Greenock, which employs more than 50 staff.

The new contract is the first of a £58m deal to maintain and overhaul the CalMac vessels.

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It will see work carried out on the CalMac fleet serving west coast islands - including MV Lochnevis, MV Hebridean Isles, MV Isle of Mull, MV Isle of Arran, MV Caledonian Isles and MV Isle of Lewis.

Inchgreen dry dock in Greenock. Picture: geograph.co.uk
Inchgreen dry dock in Greenock. Picture: geograph.co.uk

Chris McEleny, former leader of the Inverclyde Council SNP group, said the contract would have supported jobs and given a much needed boost to the local economy.

Mr McEleny said: "No stone should be left unturned to ensure that the huge financial benefit provided by support contracts for Scottish Government owned ferries must be given to workers and communities on the Clyde.

"Millions of pounds to maintain Scottish Government owned CalMac Ferries could be getting spent in Inverclyde supporting jobs here but instead the contracts are going to Merseyside.

"This is bad for jobs on the Clyde and dreadful for the environment.

"Inverclyde is the most deprived community in Scotland.

"We have the capacity and the ability to have all of this work carried out here on the Clyde.

"This would support jobs, help create apprenticeships and be a much needed multi million pound boost to our area.

"Surely no rational person can support Clyde and Hebrides ferries sailing south to be worked upon when that work, and all the economic benefits that comes with it, can be carried out here in Scotland?

"This work must be carried out on the Clyde."

In early 2019, Cammell Laird faced criticism for failing to make good use of the Inchgreen Dry Dock in Greenock - the largest mainland dry dock in the UK.

Robbie Drummond, CalMac managing director, said: "CalMac has an obligation to put contracts out to tender so that the process is as fair and transparent as possible.

"A range of factors, including value for money and efficiency, are always taken into account before bids are awarded."

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