NEW talks between Highlands and Islands airport operator HIAL and trade union Prospect in a bid to prevent strikes at Sumburgh Airport have been agreed.
The union’s national secretary Alan Denney confirmed on Monday that he would meet with HIAL management on Wednesday morning.
At the end of last week the union announced a 48-hour walkout of security staff from 7 April after members overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action.
All eleven HIAL airports including Shetland’s main airport will be affected.
The union argues that staff employed by HIAL’s security company Airport Management Services Ltd (AMSL) should enjoy equal terms and conditions with other airport staff.
HIAL has rejected the union demand for what it says amounts to a 30 per cent pay rise.
HIAL managing director, Inglis Lyon, said on Monday he had written to Prospect last week inviting the union to hold further talks, but received no reply.
Lyon added that he had again written to the union with an offer for more talks.
“We have shown a willingness to engage with the union and we are prepared to consider more realistic claims from them. However, we cannot accede to demands for a near 30 per cent pay increase,” he said.
Denney said the union had no record of receiving a letter from Lyon last week but added that as soon as he had received a phone call from the company on Monday morning he had responded and a meeting has now been arranged.
“We have no record of a letter last week but I don’t want to dwell on that.
“Despite the fact that I am on annual leave, I have made arrangements to meet with them on Wednesday morning,” he said.