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Pay issue resolved on Northern Isles freight vessels
An agreement in principle has been reached which will see crews on the freight vessels serving the Northern Isles paid at least the minimum wage, the Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf has announced.
Following discussions between Transport Scotland, Seatruck and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), an agreement has been reached to transfer the MV Helliar and MV Hildasay to a bareboat charter by CMAL.
The vessels will then be made available to Serco Northlink Ferries (SNF), the operator of the Northern Isles Public Service Contract, ending the long running issue around seafarers’ pay.
A number of financial and regulatory agreements are still in the process of being finalised, but it’s expected that the transfer will take place early next month.
Mr Yousaf said:
“The current situation with crew being paid less than the minimum wage is unacceptable and as soon as I first became aware of it, I gave a direct commitment to meet with Seatruck in person.
“I’m very pleased to see an agreement in principle now in place to end this long running issue around the freight vessels serving the Northern Isles.
“The new charter basis will allow the wage issue to be resolved. Going forward, I can confirm that all crew members will be paid at least the minimum wage.
“It also means that the availability of suitable freighters to service these routes has been secured for the immediate future.
“There are still some details to be finalised, but we expect the change in charter agreement to be in place next month.
“This will no doubt be welcome news for islanders, crew members and unions. I commend the representatives of Seatruck, CMAL, NorthLink Ferries and Transport Scotland who worked hard to find a solution to a complicated situation.”
- The MV Helliar and MV Hildasay are currently leased on a time charter from Seatruck for use by Serco Northlink Ferries (SNF) on the Northern Isles Ferry Services.
- Full details of pay scales are still being finalised, but all crew members will be paid at least the minimum wage.