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News round-up / Strike threat at airport, council pay deal approved

SUMBURGH airport could be hit by strike action later this winter as air traffic controllers employed by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) are to be balloted on industrial action as part of an ongoing dispute on pay.

Earlier this week Scottish Ministers, who own HIAL, rejected a business case jointly prepared by HIAL and the Prospect union that set out the pay gap between HIAL and the rest of the industry.

Prospect negotiation officer David Avery said: “There is a global shortage of air traffic controllers which is driving wages up across the industry – at the same time HIAL staff have received below inflation pay awards.

“It is unfair that a HIAL air traffic controller, providing an essential service for the Highlands and Islands, is being paid half as much their counterpart in London  – enough is enough.”

MEANWHILE, local government union Unison have confirmed that its members have voted overwhelmingly to accept the pay offer for council workers.

The union said 91 per cent voted in favour of the deal and in record numbers.

The pay offer will deliver 9.5 per cent increase over three years: 3.5 per cent for 2018-19, 3 per cent for 2019-20 and 3 per cent for 2020-21. In addition it provides a commitment to fully consolidate the living wage of £9 per hour. The award will be backdated to 1 April 2018.

Unison head of local government Scotland Johanna Baxter said: “This is a great outcome, delivered as a direct result of the campaigning activity and political lobbying efforts of Unison members up and down the country.

Our members have been waiting on a pay increase for over a year now so look forward to receiving their increase soon.”