Union call public meeting over proposed cuts in ferry sailings

Union are asking all those who wish to share their views to attend a public meeting in January

Wightlink night time

Last night (Thursday) the Isle of Wight Trades Union Council met to discuss the issue of Wightlink Ferries scrapping overnight crossings.

Bob Blocksidge, Chairman of Unite Isle of Wight Area Activists, tells On The Wight that that it was agreed a public meeting would be held in January to gather views of the general public.

Will affect those working off the Island
He said the opinion reached at the meeting was that the reduction in the frequency of ferry sailings will be to the detriment of all who live on the Island, especially affecting those who have to travel off the Island for work.

It was also thought it will have an adverse effect goods and services, such as emergency travel to hospitals on the mainland.

The meeting will be held at Newport Football Club on Thursday 3rd January 2013 at 7pm and anyone who wishing to share their opinion on the changes to ferry services with the union is invited to attend.

Image: Capt Gorgeous under CC BY 2.0

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Friday, 30th November, 2012 11:22am

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2ahZ

Filed under: Ferry, Isle of Wight Jobs, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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10 Comments

  1. Mike Crowe's comment is rated -6 Vote +1 Vote -1

    1.Dec.2012 8:43am

    No more of this trouble when the bridge is built :-)

    Reply
  2. wightywight's comment is rated -2 Vote +1 Vote -1

    1.Dec.2012 10:56am

    @Mike Crowe:

    It won’t EVER get built….. so back to the drawing board over sailing cuts…

    WW

    Reply
    • cynic's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

      1.Dec.2012 11:20am

      If ever built it would not be cheaper to cross the Solent by a bridge.

      For example, take the Oresund Bridge (5 miles long), return toll for a car is 86 euros (£70)foot passenger 18 euros (£15.58). It is government owned. The bridge cost the governments $5.7 billion ($7.35 billion at 2011 prices.)and should be paid off by 2035.

      Probably PFI would be needed to build a Solent bridge. Thus it would be funded by private investors (like MacQuarie or VINCI). Interest on loans to governments are substantially cheaper than loans to private investors.

      “The cost of capital for a typical PFI project is currently over 8%—double the long term government gilt rate of approximately 4%. The difference in finance costs means that PFI projects are significantly more expensive to fund over the life of a project. This represents a significant cost to taxpayers.” UK Parliamentary report from Treasury (10 August 2011).

      Not only would construction costs be more expensive but the private investors (like Macquarie/VINCI) would reap substantial profits from tolls in their operating the bridge. (See the Skye Bridge fiasco as an example).

      So however attractive the idea of a bridge might be to some, the reality is that crossing the Solent by bridge would not be any cheaper than it is today and even might be even more expensive if it was PFI-funded.

      Reply
  3. adrian nicholas's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

    1.Dec.2012 5:43pm

    Well argued comment Cynic,

    Despite the disproportionate detriment to the Island economy that Wightlink are seeking to wreak, the recent example of what happened to to passenger heli-service between Cornwall and the Scilli Isles (and economic effect re-their recent staple tourism; http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/04/isles-scilly-costly-transport-links
    which ended should be a timely warning.

    (Despite being landlord ‘owned’ the ‘baliol’ wholly by the Duchy of Cornwall – who perhaps unsurprisingly did precisely nothing to prevent this -despite the rent the Prince receives! and given that Meridian thurs. 7.30 tourist advertorial programme).
    Now reliant on an infrequent ferry, it is worth looking at the Guardian article comparison with the Scottish
    ”A tale of two islands

    Council comparison with Islay in the Inner Hebrides

    Population

    Scilly: 2,220 Islay: 3,457

    Miles to mainland ferry port

    Scilly: 37 Islay: 25

    Frequency of passenger ferry

    Scilly: One return daily (late March to the end of October). Nothing Sundays

    Islay: Three to four returns per day all year round, two returns on Sundays

    Cost

    Scilly: £95 return Islay: £17.30 return

    Government subsidy

    Scilly: £0

    Islay: a share of £80m a year (the Scottish government does not break down how much each island receives for fear this would be divisive)

    • This article was amended on 6 June 2012. The original panel said the government subsidy for Islay was a share of £80,000 a year. This has been corrected.”

    A look at their ferry sites; http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=4458
    reveals a variety of different companies with foot passage being the most frequent.

    We now have a Tory Council leader, council and last week’s major ‘tourism’ meeting( with a new chief(see IWCP).
    Yet the official ‘message’ is advice not to put off potential visitors by mentioning ferry cost and now from Jan infrequency – whilst also doing precisely zilch – with the pathetic whimper that ‘wightlink is a private commercial business’ , therefore wightlinks business and not theirs – thus abdicating any notion of either ‘authority’ with/ and ‘responsibility’ to actual Islanders – rather than operating costs and profit’s of Maquarrie and its shareholders.
    Some parallel there with the coalition some might opine!

    Well done IW TUC for organising a public meeting in such circumstances. Worth remembering also the previous Tory IWC support for Wightlink and their efforts to undermine Andrew Turner’s petition and efforts to engage with the sadly long, fruitless and ineffectual monopolies and mergers committee enquiry.

    Holding the Island to ransom and making money from it – seems to be their preferred way of encouraging a particular predatory type of business that actively stifles actual island business and stifles investmment viability as a whole?

    Reply
  4. Mike Crowe's comment is rated -3 Vote +1 Vote -1

    1.Dec.2012 6:27pm

    I look forward to seeing you publish, on here, the post I made, where I said that a bridge crossing would be cheaper.

    Respectfully yours.

    Reply
    • cynic's comment not rated yet. Add your vote Vote +1 Vote -1

      1.Dec.2012 7:36pm

      I was replying and adding to WW’s comment not your’s. Do try to keep up with the discussion. :-))

      Reply
      • Mat's comment is rated +1 Vote +1 Vote -1

        3.Dec.2012 7:30pm

        First: Well done to the Trades Councils for organising a Public Meeting on the ferries. It gives the opportunity for people of this island to organise opposition to Macquarie /Wightlink on something so crucial to us all. It’s imperative that we take this opportunity. It is a fundamental right that we have freedom of movement on and off the island at any time. Whether it is for family, emergency, cultural reasons or work, this service must be maintained. It is the duty of any politician, MP or Councillor to safeguard this right and effect any measure to ensure it. We need to scrutinise any manifesto that is produced during the coming elections for the council next year to make sure that they contain favourable recommendations. Our lives cannot stand or fall on the decisions of monopoly companies that only operate on the basis of profit. What if they decided to reduce sailings to one a day or one week for their economic reasons? Is there anything that can stop them? This position where the decision lies with companies is not right and has to be defeated. Only the people living on the Isle of Wight can rescind cuts in sailings and extortionate fares.
        Second: How come our fate is being decided by the executives of Wightlink or indeed an Australian bank? Russell Kew (CEO) Wightlink, has his fingers in the IOW Chamber of Commerce and doesn’t appear to be acting in the interest of the Island. He is courting the leader of the IOW council and he is interfering in the L.E.P. and affecting the entire Solent area and is even diverting funds to off-island education establishments. Why has Wightlink registered itself in a tax-haven like Guernsey? Have they something to hide like Starbucks? Why is there no transparency? Look at how they report their accounts to the Public domain:

        http://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/Company/DocumentExtract/43578777

        – and this is only 2010 for us to peruse. It looks to me as though they are picking our pockets on this island, taking out more from the economy than they put in by tax dodging and profiteering. It is time to call time for Wightlink I think, and announce that the game is up!!! Don’t you?
        I am going to the meeting, what about yourself?

        Reply
  5. Mat's comment not rated yet. Add your vote Vote +1 Vote -1

    3.Dec.2012 7:41pm

    Why is my previous comment not being posted?

    Reply
  6. Mat's comment not rated yet. Add your vote Vote +1 Vote -1

    3.Dec.2012 7:42pm

    Thanks it has now

    Reply

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