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Also in the news / Covid worry, Unison ballot, Scalloway road closure and air traffic control

AS THE number of Covid-19 figures across Scotland reached a new record with more than 5,000 new cases over a 24-hour period, Shetland’s total was up by one making it 23 new cases over the last seven days.

NHS Shetland said recently that it was dealing with a new cluster, advising people to take extra care as the virus was circulating in the community.

On Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not rule out the reintroduction of Covid restrictions should the number of infections and hospital admissions continue to rise.

COUNCILS across Scotland could be affected by strike action later this year after local government union Unison has decided to ballot its members on industrial action over a dispute on this year’s pay award.

CoSLA, the umbrella body representing council employers, has made a revised offer of a flat rate rise of £850 for staff earning less than £25,000.

The union says the latest pay offer falls far short of their pay claim and does little to address low pay which has become endemic following a decade of austerity.

UNISON’s local government committee chairman Mark Ferguson said: “The last 18 months have taken an enormous toll on council staff who have been working flat out for no reward. Their courage and sacrifices need to be rewarded, yet the employers are failing to recognise their efforts.”

The union said it intends to take targeted strike action meaning select groups of workers would be balloted. These include members working in school cleaning, school catering, school janitorial as well as those working in waste and recycling services.

Scalloway’s Main Street. Photo: SIC

SCALLOWAY’s Main Street between Chapel Road junction and the Burn Beach roundabout will be closed during the day for almost two weeks from next Tuesday (31 August) to allow essential repairs to the surface of the road.

The hours of operation will be between 9.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday although on occasion the road will remain closed through the evening for safety reasons.

Shetland islands Council said that an alternative route for vehicular traffic exists via Chapel Lane, Berry Road, Lover’s Lane and New Road in the eastbound direction, and vice versa in the westbound direction.

HIGHLANDS and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has criticised the Scottish Greens for not standing up for remote communities with regards to controversial plans to centralise air traffic control services at Inverness.

Aviation was one of the areas absent from the SNP/Greens partnership agreement published last week.

Grant said: “Given the ongoing issues with air traffic control management proposals in the Highlands and Islands this exemption would appear to be aimed at ensuring The Scottish Government can force through controversial changes that would see jobs centralised in Inverness and a significant loss of local knowledge.

“By allowing this as an exemption, the Scottish Greens have indicated that they too are now aware but aren’t particularly concerned with issues affecting the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, but are willing to sell out a huge swathe of the country if it means they can get the SNP’s scraps.”