AIR TRAVEL across the Highlands and Islands looks set to be severely disrupted for three days later this month after the union representing air traffic controllers announced further strike days.
Following talks on Thursday in which employer Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) rejected a proposal tabled by the union, Prospect’s negotiating officer David Avery said the union had no choice but to serve notice on the company for a series of one day strikes.
Inverness airport will be affected by industrial action on 21 July, Sumburgh, Kirkwall and Wick on 22 July and Dundee, Stornoway and Benbecula on 23 July, effectively disrupting air travel in the region for three consecutive days.
Last month a revised pay offer by HIAL, which is owned by the Scottish Government, was overwhelmingly rejected by rejected by union members.
Avery said: “While we will seek to avoid disrupting major events as much possible, any strike action is disruptive by its nature, particularly during the school holidays.
“We would like to reiterate that we have been seeking to resolve this dispute for more than a year and this action is only being taken as a last resort.”
HIAL’s managing director Inglis Lyon said the offer presented by Prospect exceeded the flexibility and affordability of a publicly owned organisation such as HIAL.
“We are dismayed that Prospect has announced further days of strike action and apologise sincerely to our customers, passengers and local communities for the continued disruption,” he said.
“It is disheartening to have received a counter offer from Prospect that is beyond our affordability.
“Over the past eight months we have discussed various options with the union and have been clear throughout that any proposal must be affordable and within the terms of Public Sector Pay Policy.
“Prospect are aware of HIAL’s budgetary restrictions and our latest offer constituted compromise to accommodate trade union demands within the bounds of the pay policy.”