The Scottish government has denied claims by union leaders battling to save air traffic control jobs in island communities that the transport minister would not discuss their concerns during a visit to the Western Isles.
It follows strike action among Prospect members over the proposal to move jobs from island communities to Inverness.
The union has described as “disappointing” that Graeme Dey would not speak to Hial staff and communities about their concerns.
Prospect negotiator David Avery said: “Ultimately the Scottish government have the power to step in and force a rethink on these plans, and it is incumbent on them to listen to the serious concerns that have been raised.
“This missed opportunity makes it even more vital that the minister takes the next available opportunity to meet with Prospect and local politicians to engage with our concerns.”
However, the Scottish government said in a statement: “Suggestions the Minister for Transport is not engaging are not true, as he is meeting Western Isles Council today (Thursday) and the modernisation of air traffic control services is on the agenda.
“The decision to modernise air traffic control will ensure that air services can continue in the future.
“The option chosen by Hial in 2018 will improve resilience, safety and reliability of services.
“It remains the case that no alternative has been proposed that addresses the issues that the ATMS programme aims to resolve.
“Hial continues to engage with its staff, unions, airline customers and other interested parties as the programme is implemented.”