NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Northern Isles ferry staff go on strike

Hamnavoe tied up
Image caption The ferry Hamnavoe was tied up on Friday

Northern Isles ferry staff started their first 24-hour strike at 00:01 on Friday.

RMT union members on Orkney and Shetland routes voted for action on various dates up to 30 December.

They say Serco Northlink Ferries want to cut jobs. The operator said it is not planning any compulsory redundancies and will make every effort to maintain the lifeline services.

Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown expressed disappointment at the strike.

'Rock solid'

Sunday's Aberdeen/Orkney/Shetland sailings also face action, from 08:00 until the same time on Monday.

The union said its members were "prepared to fight for their future livelihoods".

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "The programme of strike action on Serco Northern Isles ferries, which began at midnight, is rock solid this morning.

"This fight is about safe staffing levels and the protection of skilled jobs and public safety."

'Remain disappointed'

Stuart Garrett, managing director of Serco NorthLink, said: "Despite our best efforts up until late yesterday evening, the RMT again failed to respond.

"We remain disappointed that industrial action means ferry services to the Northern Isles will be disrupted this weekend and potentially over the festive period.

"Dialogue has been re-established this morning and Serco remains willing to communicate, as we have throughout."

It is the first such action by seafaring ferry workers since 1966.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites