Unite Scotland has welcomed a commitment by the First Minister to look at bringing fair pay to the union’s members at Marine Scotland.
Highland and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant raised the issue again today at First Minister’s Questions. She has been campaigning on behalf of seafarers, working for what was formerly the Scottish Fishery Protection Fleet, to ensure they receive the going rate for the job.
Previous Parliamentary Questions by Mrs Grant discovered that seagoing staff working for Marine Scotland were being paid thousands of pounds less than those in comparable posts for ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne. A chief steward for Marine Scotland can earn up to £29,579 a year while at CalMac the same post is rewarded with £37,675.
Both Marine Scotland and CalMac are wholly owned by Scottish Ministers.
In December the Scottish Parliament passed an amendment put forward by Rhoda Grant, stating that Marine Scotland staff should receive a fair pay settlement that recognises their experience and skills. Rhoda Grant today (Thursday 23 February) asked the First Minister what actions she was going to take to make sure that happened.
The First Minister pledged to look into the matter and write to Mrs Grant.
Unite regional officer Alexander Smart said: “Our members in Marine Scotland appreciate the dedicated, principled way that Rhoda Grant has stood up for their interests.
“Our members at Marine Scotland do a difficult job, safeguarding our fisheries on behalf of all of us. Even after the passing of the amendment in Parliament, Marine Scotland management are refusing to act.
“We welcome the First Minister’s pledge to look into this issue, and our members will look forward to seeing what she has to say. They deserve fair pay, and the First Minister should take a lead on making sure they get it.”
Afterwards Mrs Grant said: “It is totally unacceptable for this Parliament to take a vote backing fair pay, and then discovers that an agency such as Marine Scotland is not listening to the message.
“Every week I receive reports about how difficult the situation is becoming, both in terms of a reduced recruitment and retention allowance, the big gap in pay and retaining experienced staff.
“It is about time the Scottish Government took a tough stand on this and told Marine Scotland what’s expected. I welcome the intervention of the First Minister who hopefully will sort out this situation before seafarers consider what action they can now take to highlight their rightful sense of grievance.”
Notes to editors
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Unite Scotland regional officer Alexander Smart on 07810 157927, or Rhoda Grant MSP on 01463 716299, or Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 / email@example.com