Airport security staff will stage a 48 hour strike next week after last minute talks aimed at averting a walk out broke down.
The failure in negotiations means members of the Prospect Union will commence with two days of industrial action on Tuesday.
It follows a recent 87 per cent vote in favour of strike on an 85 per cent turn out. The dispute involves staff employed by HIAL’s security company, Airport Management Services Ltd (AMSL). Prospect insist management has failed to agree equal pay, holidays and sick pay for AMSL’s airport security workers. Staff are also due to begin a work to rule once the strike has concluded. The union says the timing of the strike is intended to minimise disruption for holiday travel.
Union negotiator, Alan Denney, said: “Despite attempts to find a settlement to the dispute in AMSL, the inability of the company or the Scottish government to find a way to settle this matter means that industrial action is inevitable.”
The union represents more than 120 of AMSL’s 160 workers, covering 11 Scottish airports.
However, HIAL have accused the union of presenting an “entirely arbitrary and unreasonable” deadline following initial progress in talks.
In a statement, it said: “Following detailed discussions with Prospect, we believe we have made some progress with the union, with both sides showing willingness to compromise. We now require some time, with our Transport Scotland colleagues, to consider the issues we have discussed with Prospect.
“In the meantime, as a sign of goodwill, we have requested that the union postpone industrial action until we are in a position to reply to them in detail, which is entirely within their gift.
“Unfortunately, the union has insisted on an immediate response to their requests and we are simply not able to provide this.
“As a result the union has confirmed that it will proceed as planned with its strike threat. We regret that, having come this far and made reasonable progress in our discussions, the union has presented an entirely arbitrary and unreasonable deadline, to which we simply cannot accede.
“We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience caused during the industrial action. We have been entirely reasonable throughout this process.”
HIAL is urging passengers flying from Sumburgh to arrive in good time for their flight and limit the amount of hand or check-in luggage, as well as liquids, they take to the airport to help speed up the security process.
Passengers are also being asked to confirm the status of their flight with their airline before leaving for the airport.
HIAL says it plans to continue operating 10 of its 11 airports. Only Dundee Airport will close during the strike.