LAST minute talks to avert a strike by security staff at the airports in Sumburgh and elsewhere in the highlands and islands have broken down.
Late on Friday afternoon the trade union Prospect and Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) issued statements blaming each other for the failure to resolve the dispute.
However HIAL say the only airport that will close as a result of the action will be Dundee, with other staff providing cover for their striking colleagues.
Prospect members working for HIAL’s security company AMSL will go on strike for 48 hours from midday on Tuesday 7 April, followed by a work to rule.
The move follows a ballot which showed overwhelming support for industrial action for an improvements in pay and conditions.
HIAL said that they had asked Prospect to postpone their action to give them more time to respond in detail to their demands.
A spokesman said: “We now require some time, with our Transport Scotland colleagues, to consider the issues we have discussed with Prospect.
“Unfortunately, the union has insisted on an immediate response to their requests and we are simply not able to provide this.
“We regret that, having come this far and made reasonable progress in our discussions, the union has presented an entirely arbitrary and unreasonable deadline, to which we simply cannot accede.”
However Prospect say that they have waited long enough after months of negotiations and accused the company of adopting delaying tactics.
National secretary Alan Denney said: “We submitted a letter of claim on 21 October and here we are on 3 April – I don’t see how much more reasonable we could be expected to be.
“The only reason HIAL think this is unreasonable is because our members are not prepared to be bullied into submission, they have said enough is enough.”
HIAL said they intend to operate all their airports except Dundee as normal during the 48 hour strike.
They said passengers travelling on those days can help speed up the security process by arriving in good time, limiting the amount of luggage they carry and the amount of liquids they are carrying.
They also advise passengers to confirm the status of their flight before leaving for the airport