Local News for Thursday 11th May 2017

Lecturers’ third day of strike
College lecturers at Lews Castle College will be on the picket line from 7.30am until 12.30pm today, as part of a national dispute between the EIS Further Education Lecturers Association and employers’ association Colleges Scotland. This is the third separate day of strike action, with an escalation to two days a week possible if the dispute is not resolved by next week. Further Education Lecturers in colleges across Scotland are currently embarking on strike action over the refusal of College Management to honour a deal on pay and conditions that was reached in March 2016. Lecturers are taking strike action following a 96% vote in favour in a recent ballot. Up to 30 people have been at the Lews Castle College picket line during previous days of action, and the next projected days of action are next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Gipsy Moth to visit Stornoway
The record-breaking sailing ship Gipsy Moth IV is to call into Stornoway on Friday 16th June, as part of a round-Britain 50th anniversary tour. Gipsy Moth IV was the yacht taken round the world by Sir Francis Chichester in1966/67, setting the record for the first single-handed circumnavigation of the globe. The 50th anniversary of this achievement will see the yacht travel round Britain from Plymouth, via Milford Haven, Liverpool and the Isle of Man, coming to Stornoway from Oban on Friday June 19th. Berthing next to Stornoway lifeboat, Gipsy Moth IV will be open to the public on the Friday with £50 tickets for sailing taster trips on the Saturday offered to islanders. She’s now owned by a charitable trust, and hosts training days for youngsters as part of sailing training and Duke of Edinburgh award challenges.
Ullapool bus link under scrutiny
Bus operator Citylink says they are keeping a close eye on services between Ullapool and Inverness, after a saga of travel problems for ferry passengers trying to book seats. Citylink operations director Peter Knight says the extra bus services laid on over Easter ensured that no passenger was left without transport, and pledged that a new system of working with CalMac should ensure that extra travellers would be met by additional buses. Mr Knight added, “Since being made aware of these issues we have taken this matter very seriously and have closely monitored the position over the last few weeks.  We have added buses where they were required. I have also met with Calmac management and staff in Stornoway and agreed a process whereby Calmac will alert Citylink of any increased passenger numbers when they are boarding, which allows my team the time to make arrangements to ensure no one will be stranded. We have put in place regular checks through the day on the online booking system to ensure it has not filled up and closed.” The moves have been welcomed by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, who is among politicians putting pressure on Citylink to solve the problem. She said: “I welcome these initiatives, but would encourage anyone having difficulty booking online to contact Citylink immediately”.
Rotary gala cancelled
The Rotary Club of Stornoway have cancelled this Saturday’s charity gala event, citing poor ticket sales in a busy month for fundraising activities. The event, which was to have featured Stornoway Big Band and host Derek Pluto Murray, was to have supported six island charities and will, it’s hoped, be rescheduled for September this year. Tickets will be refunded from the Caberfeidh Hotel or from Events shop, depending on the point of purchase.