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Air traffic controllers vote to take industrial action

Staff at Highlands and Islands Airport Limited previously rejected a 2% pay rise offer.

Inverness Airport: Operated by HIAL.
Inverness Airport: Operated by HIAL. ©:STV

Air traffic controllers at Highlands and Island Airport Limited (HIAL) have voted to take industrial action in a row over pay.

From an 86% turnout, 88% of the controllers, who are members of the Prospect union, voted for strike action with 90% backing action short of a strike.

Prospect will consult representatives next week before confirming industrial action plans. The action is likely to start in April and continue through the summer.

Staff at Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (Hial) rejected a 2% pay rise offered last year - calling for at least a 10% hike.

Seven of Hial's 11 airports - Dundee, Inverness, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh and Wick John O'Groats - will be affected by industrial action.

In a statement, Hial said: "We are disappointed air traffic control colleagues have chosen to take industrial action that is likely to have a significant impact on passengers and the communities we serve in the Highlands and Islands.

"The Prospect union has sought a double-digit pay award. As a government sponsored agency, HIAL must follow the Scottish Government pay policy. We cannot implement pay awards more than that directed by government.

"HIAL made a pay award offer to all staff which was accepted following an overall ballot of trade union members and paid to all staff at the end of September 2018.

"This was backdated to April 1 and saw colleagues receive increases of up to three per cent in line with Scottish Government Pay Remit Guidelines.

"Prospect ATC members rejected the pay settlement, but nonetheless received the increase.

"We are open to holding further talks with Prospect on a recruitment and retention allowance for air traffic control staff that would further bolster an attractive remuneration package that already includes excellent pension benefits and holiday entitlements."

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