Two days of industrial action by security staff at Sumburgh Airport get under way today following a breakdown in talks between management and union representatives.
The Prospect union has blamed suits at HIAL for dragging their heels in reaching an agreement that could bring an end to the dispute. Meanwhile HIAL has repeated its calls for passengers to arrive at Sumburgh in good time for their flights.
Prospect national secretary Alan Denney said management had been moving at “snail’s pace”. His comments came amid warnings that further strike action at the airport is a possibility.
“We put in our claim in October but have yet to receive an offer from the employer in response to this,” Mr Denney said. “Not only that, we’ve seen no evidence to suggest that the claim has been put before the Scottish government, the owners of HIAL.
“Despite management’s claim to the contrary there has been no real attempt to secure a settlement with us before a strike takes place. In effect they’ve been moving at a snail’s pace all this time in the hope that we would crack.
“This is mistaken. Our resolve is rock solid and membership has in fact been growing since the result of the strike ballot was announced.”
The union says attempts to draft in non-security Prospect members in HIAL have been rebuffed and that delays and disruption to flights will be inevitable.
Once the first 48 hours of strike action has concluded members will begin a work to contract, including an overtime ban and a ban on rest day working.
The union has accused management of failing to agree equal pay, holidays, and sick pay for AMSL’s airport security workers in the six years since HIAL brought security in house.
HIAL insist all of its airports will operate their usual opening times during the 48-hour strike. It aims to operate all scheduled services, other than the Dundee-Stansted services.
Scheduled passengers intending to fly during the action are being urged to arrive 15-20 minutes earlier for their flight and limit the amount of hand or check-in luggage they take to the airport.
HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said: “While we are disappointed that the industrial action is taking place, we have been working hard to develop contingencies to enable the airports to remain open and minimise the amount of disruption for our passengers.
“We would like to thank passengers, in advance, for their co-operation and understasnding during this period, and we would also like to thank the local teams for their support and helping it be business as usual.”