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‘Business as usual’ at Sumburgh during strike

Sumburgh Airport.

TRAVELLERS in and out of Shetland are being assured that it will be “business as usual” at Sumburgh Airport with a 48-hour strike due to get underway at midday on Tuesday.

Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd. (HIAL) is advising passengers to try to arrive 15-20 minutes earlier than normal for their flights.

The industrial action by members of the Prospect trade union, providing airport security services, coincides with the second week of the school Easter holidays in Shetland.

Prospect – which represents workers employed by HIAL’s security company AMSL – confirmed on Friday that the action would go ahead after last-minute talks failed to find a resolution.

Once the 48-hour strike is over members will begin working to rule, including a ban on staff working any overtime.

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said any disruption at Sumburgh should be minimal and all scheduled services should operate.

“Fortunately we have a number of non-union members of staff and other folk – managers – who are prepared to pitch in,” he said.

“The staff are trained to exactly the same standards – they’ve been supervised by our expert trainers. Everything will be as it ought to be.”

Prospect said 87 per cent of members voted in favour of strike action on an 85 per cent turnout. In the six years since HIAL brought security in-house, management has “failed to agree equal pay, holidays, and sick pay for AML’s airport security workers”, it said on Friday.

Lyon said HIAL was “disappointed” the action was taking place, but said the airport group had been “working hard to develop contingencies to enable the airports to remain open and minimise the amount of disruption for our passengers”.

He added: “We would like to thank passengers, in advance, for their cooperation and understanding during this period, and we would also like to thank the local teams for their support and helping it be business as usual.”

HIAL also says it would be helpful if passengers limit the amount of liquids they check in to help speed up the security process.

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