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Transport / Talks to resume in bid to resolve air traffic controller dispute

The Sumburgh Airport air traffic control tower. Photo: HIAL

TALKS are to resume between Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) and the Prospect union in the hope of resolving the ongoing air traffic controller dispute over pay.

The discussions will resume at the end of the week.

Prospect air traffic controllers at HIAL airports like Sumburgh have undertaken work to rule industrial action for months, which includes not working beyond airport opening hours.

They have also gone on two one-day strikes, shutting down airports in the region.

Prospect argues that air traffic controllers in the Highlands and Islands and Dundee should have pay parity with controllers at Glasgow, Edinburgh and London airports.

Negotiating officer David Avery previously said: “Our members at HIAL undertake highly skilled roles, much in demand across the UK and Europe, but due to public sector pay restraint their pay has fallen significantly behind the rest of the industry.”

HIAL has previously said that as a government-owned company it is unable to deviate from public pay procedure.

Shetland News reported earlier this summer that the financial hit taken by airline Loganair as a result of the disruption is understood to have exceeded £1 million.

It is understood that the work to rule action has arguably been more damaging than full strikes on the airline as it has meant cancelling delayed flights and paying for overnight accommodation.