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Transport / Unite says airport workers ‘deserve far more’ as strike action looms

Sumburgh Airport. Photo © Mike Pennington (cc-by-sa/2.0)

THE UNION leading the strike action due to take place at airports in the Highlands and Islands later this month says its members “deserve far more than what is currently on the table”.

Unite industrial officer Shauna Wright added that the strike action is “entirely the fault of airport management and the Scottish Government”.

The strikes will close Sumburgh Airport on 21, 22 and 23 February, causing significant disruption to travel to and from Shetland.

Strike action is also affecting six other airports in the Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) network, although some are not affected.

HIAL is a company owned by the Scottish Government.

A spokesperson for Loganair said passengers booked on the airport closure days are being contacted “so we can rearrange their travel dates within the next 14 days free of charge or provide refunds for cancelled services”.

It comes after two days of strikes by HIAL Unite members in December which closed Sumburgh Airport among others.

Wright said the situation from the union’s perspective was clear – that its members working for HIAL deserve a better pay increase in the cost of living crisis.

The workforce has already rejected a five per cent offer.

“Unite believes our hard working members who keep the airports operating in isolated and rural communities across Scotland deserve far more than what is currently on the table,” Wright said.

“Unite is once again calling on the Scottish Government to meet with us, the workers and HIAL management to fund an improved pay offer, and to deliver more investment in these communities.

“If they do not then Unite’s strike action will be down to their inflexibility despite the Scottish Government showing flexibility in abundance in other areas of the public sector.”

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said the airport operator remains in dialogue with government agency Transport Scotland and trade unions in an attempt to resolve the matter.

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“We apologise in advance for the disruption this action by Unite colleagues will cause for our airlines and passengers,” he said.

“I would urge anyone intending to travel on these dates to contact with their airline.

“The enhanced offer we presented maximised the flexibility within the Scottish Government’s pay policy.”

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