Airport workers have moved closer to taking industrial action following the rejection of an “insulting” pay offer.
The Unite union has today [Friday] notified Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) of a forthcoming ballot.
Workers rejected a five per cent pay offer last month. Further talks were subsequently held, and Hial put forward an “enhanced” pay offer.
But no agreement has yet been reached.
Hial workers, who operate in 11 airports – including Sumburgh – say living and working in some of the most remote communities means the impact of the cost of living crisis is particularly acute.
Shauna Wright, Unite regional officer, said: “Our members provide a crucial role for the airport from firefighting and security to customer service.
“This pay award affects all our members across all grades and does nothing for the retention and the recruitment of staff on islands.
“Unite remain open to dialogue to seek a solution, however all members deserve more and they deserve a pay that’s in line with the cost of living.”
Hial’s managing director Inglis Lyon said: “Following an extensive exercise on operational efficiencies and the generation of additional income through various measures, we presented an enhanced offer to the trade unions.
“The offer was affordable from within our existing finances and maximised the parameters of the Scottish government pay policy, and this was acknowledged by the trade unions.
“Meetings were held on Friday, 28th October with the trade unions to explore further measures that the company may be able to implement to enhance the offer, but these fell short of union expectations.
“However, we will remain in dialogue with union colleagues to try to reach a solution.”
Hial says its enhanced offer comprised:
• A five per cent basic pay award to all staff earning less that £80,000.
• A four per cent basic pay award to all staff earning more that £80,000.
• A five per cent increase to fixed allowances.