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Air traffic control pay talks break down

The Sumburgh Airport air traffic control tower. Photo: HIAL

TALKS have broken down on a pay dispute with air traffic controllers in the Highlands and Islands.

Representatives from the government-owned Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) and the Prospect union met again on Friday (3 May) to hold more discussions on the dispute, which stemmed from the pay offer the company made to air traffic control staff last year.

A 24-hour strike for 26 April at airports including Sumburgh was previously cancelled, but the Prospect union says a strike is now back on the agenda after HIAL failed to up its pay offer.

Air traffic controllers who are Prospect members have already been working to rule, which has included not working beyond airport opening hours.

Prospect negotiations officer David Avery said the union will meet with its air traffic control representatives committee next week to agree further industrial action.

“Our members agreed to cancel strike action earlier in the year to allow the company to develop new proposals,” he said.

“It is disappointing that after three meetings no new proposals have been tabled and no new money has been made available.

“Prospect members have been extremely patient with HIAL. That patience is now exhausted. We will now move to further industrial action including strike.

“We urge Scottish ministers to intervene and come forward with additional funding to resolve this dispute.”

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said: “We met with Prospect and ACAS today (May 3) for the third time in an effort to find a mutually acceptable solution to the pay dispute with air traffic controllers.

“HIAL is bound by the existing government pay policy and simply cannot implement a pay award that greatly exceeds it.

“We are disappointed that proposals put forward by HIAL were not accepted by Prospect, and that talks today failed to deliver a resolution.

“HIAL is committed to resolving this dispute and we would urge the union to work with us to deliver a reasonable and appropriate remuneration package.”

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