Ferry operator CalMac is bringing new jobs to Stornoway.
CalMac’s customer service team is boosted by additional staff over the busy summer months and this year five of these seasonal jobs will be based in the Western Isles.
They will be dedicated to helping handle some of the 300,000 plus calls and 44,000 emails the company receives every year.
CalMac has pledged to look at ways of spreading support function staff more evenly around its area of operations.
‘We are on record as saying we will look at boosting job numbers within the islands we support when the opportunity arises, and this pilot is an important first step on this journey,’ said CalMac’s managing director, Robbie Drummond.
‘Although this may seem a modest move, it is a firm reinforcement that we are taking our communities wishes to see more support service jobs spread around our network seriously.’
CalMac currently employs around 1700 people.
CalMac’s customer service team has achieved the highest level of accreditation from the Contact Centre Association for the quality of its customer service who described them as ‘a competent, well managed, highly customer focused operation.’
They were particularly impressed by the development and use of social media to keep passengers up-to-date. Over the last year the team managed almost 30,000 social media messages and has attracted more than 100,000 online followers.
‘As passenger numbers continue to grow so do the number of enquiries we receive. I’m delighted that we are able to spread around the people we need to help support passengers travelling to experience the wealth of attractions the west coast has to offer,’ added Robbie.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed the announcement that CalMac is to locate five seasonal jobs in Stornoway this year. Councillor Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said: “This is welcome news. We have long campaigned to see CalMac jobs located here in the Western Isles, amongst the communities which it serves.
“The impact of salaries in the Western Isles is much greater on the local economy than in the central belt and I would call on CalMac to give serious consideration to further devolution and relocation of jobs into the Islands.
"We would reiterate our suggestion that each and every island should have a fair share of central jobs and head office functions including senior management roles and would ask that the practice of centralisation of roles to a Head Office will cease and future vacancies will be advertised on a network wide basis instead of Head Office with a target of 30% of these jobs being based in the Western Isles by 2030.
"Not only would such a move be an economic boost but it would also continue to demonstrate CalMac’s commitment to the communities of the Islands.”