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More talks needed to resolve air traffic control dispute

Sumburgh Airport. Photo: HIAL

FURTHER talks are planned in the next fortnight after Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) held a “constructive” meeting this week with trade union Prospect over potential industrial action from air traffic controllers.

Members of the union voted “near unanimously” for action recently over pay after previously rejecting a two per cent offer earlier this year.

A meeting was held between the government-owned HIAL – which operates Sumburgh Airport and 10 other airports in Scotland – and Prospect on Thursday.

In a joint statement released after the talks, the organisations said:

“Constructive meetings have taken place over the last two days. We have agreed to meet again over the next two weeks to seek to resolve the dispute.”

A spokesman for government-owned HIAL previously explained that Prospect air traffic control members were balloted separately to other staff, who had accepted a pay offer.

Prospect has reiterated that the possible action is not related to HIAL’s plans to centralise air traffic services in Inverness.

Despite this, Shetland MSP Tavish Scott used the latest developments to call on the Scottish Government to intervene in HIAL’s “closure of local air traffic control towers in favour of an unproven centralised remote tower”.

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021