Transport / Air traffic control pay offer rejected

Sumburgh Airport. Photo: HIAL

A REVISED pay offer for air traffic controllers working at Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) has been rejected.

Members of the Prospect union were balloted on the new pay offer after previously undertaking industrial action.

That action was suspended while members were balloted.

Prospect negotiations officer David Avery confirmed that work to rule action, which included air traffic controllers not working beyond airport opening hours, will resume on Saturday (29 June).


“Prospect members in HIAL have overwhelmingly rejected the revised pay offer made by HIAL,” he said.

“The work to rule which was suspended during the ballot will restart tomorrow (Saturday 29 June). Prospect will meet with representatives on Monday to consider the ballot result prior to a meeting with HIAL on Thursday 4 July to try and resolve this dispute and reach an offer which is acceptable.”

The pay dispute had resulted in a 24-hour strike affecting a number of airports in the HIAL portfolio in May, including Sumburgh.


A second strike had been planned for earlier this month, but improved prospects of a pay offer meant that the action was shelved.

Government-owned HIAL said in a statement that it was “obviously disappointed” that its latest offer has been overwhelmingly rejected.

“It is unfortunate that the industrial action has been reinstated during the peak holiday period and would like to apologise in advance to our passengers, customers and local communities for the disruption this will inevitably cause,” the company said.

“Throughout this process, the government has been clear that the pay remit for 2018/19 could not be reopened, however they permitted HIAL to develop a retention allowance in a bid to resolve the dispute


“Prospect received a formal proposal from the company on 3 June 2019, and following further discussion the offer, based on a retention allowance, was enhanced and Prospect agreed to ballot their members.

“At the same time, they also agreed to suspend all industrial action, including the work to rule, pending the outcome. The offer was made within the parameters of the Scottish public pay policy in a bid to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of both parties.

“We have encouraged Prospect to meet and discuss an alternative solution within the flexibilities afforded to the company. We remain committed to resolving this dispute and a meeting with Prospect will take place on Thursday 4 July.”