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Transport / HIAL industrial action suspended after new pay offer put to unions

Sumburgh Airport in December. Photo: Ronnie Robertson

INDUSTRIAL action at airports in the Highlands and Islands by fire and security staff has been suspended after a new pay offer was made to unions.

The Prospect union said workers at the Scottish Government owned Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) have been offered a seven per cent pay rise – “significantly better than the previous offer of five per cent which had been rejected”.

Prospect members were in the midst of strikes across the network – although Sumburgh Airport stayed open as normal – and the union was also due to carry out action short of a strike, which included an overtime ban, later this month.

The proposed latter action, called work to rule, resulted in Loganair announcing it would be temporarily suspending flights between HIAL airports – including Sumburgh/Kirkwall/Inverness connections – from 17 March due to the higher risk of disruption.

Industrial action causes Loganair to temporarily suspend Sumburgh/Kirkwall/Inverness service

But Prospect confirmed today (Friday) that all industrial action – strikes and work to rule – is being suspended whilst members are consulted on the pay offer.  The union, and Unite, will run ballots from 13 March to 20 March.

Prospect negotiator Jane Rose said: “This is a welcome improvement to the offer from the employer which we will now be putting to members via ballot, although it is clear there are wider pay structure issues at HIAL which remain to be addressed.

“As a gesture of good faith in the negotiations, and recognising the positive change in the offer from HIAL we will be suspending all industrial action until the conclusion of consultation with members.”

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said: “The new business case presented to Transport Scotland at the beginning of the week was approved and allowed us to make an improved pay offer.

“The trade unions welcomed this offer and have confirmed that they will now ballot their members on acceptance. We look forward to the outcome of the ballot and are hopeful for a positive result to resolve the current industrial dispute.

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“We apologise for the disruption this industrial action has caused and would ask passengers to contact their airline if they have any questions on flights.”

A spokesperson for Loganair said the airline “warmly welcomed” the positive step forward in negotiations between HIAL and the unions.

“Loganair aims to resume services from Inverness to Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Stornoway and Benbecula as soon as it is practical to do so and we will issue further updates in due course in line with the ballot outcome,” they said.

The news comes on the same day Scotland’s largest teaching union said its members had voted in favour in accepting a revised pay offer.

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