Airport industrial action called off after months of disruption

Months of industrial action which has disrupted air services looks set to resolve following positive talks over pay.

Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd (Hial) met three trade unions – PCS, Prosepct and Unite – on Thursday when it made an improved financial offer for staff.

It said the offer was “positively received” and all three unions have agreed to suspend industrial action while balloting members on the revised offer.

Managing director Inglis Lyon  said: “The new business case presented to Transport Scotland at the beginning of the week was approved and allowed us to make an improved pay offer.

“The trade unions welcomed this offer and have confirmed that they will now ballot their members on acceptance.

“We look forward to the outcome of the ballot and are hopeful for a positive result to resolve the current industrial dispute.

“We apologise for the disruption this industrial action has caused and would ask passengers to contact their airline if they have any questions on flights.”

Prospect said the seven per cent pay offer was “significantly better” than the five per cent offered previously.

Jane Rose, Prospect negotiator, said: “This is a welcome improvement to the offer from the employer which we will now be putting to members via ballot, although it is clear there are wider pay structure issues at HIAL which remain to be addressed.

“As a gesture of good faith in the negotiations, and recognising the positive change in the offer from HIAL we will be suspending all industrial action until the conclusion of consultation with members.”

The ballots for Prospect and Unite members will run for a week from Monday.

PCS will consult with its members and its national disputes committee. Its action planned for Wednesday will go ahead, affecting a small number of staff at Barra, Inverness, Kirkwall and Stornoway.

Hial said the airports will remain open as normal and it did not anticipate disruption for passengers.

The  industrial action has been causing disruption to services since December.

Last week Loganair said the uncertainty it posed meant it would be suspending flights between Sumburgh and Inverness via Kirkwall from 17th March.

However, chief commercial officer Luke Lovegrove told the external transport forum on Wednesday that the service could be reinstated sooner if industrial action was resolved.

Loganair has yet to comment on the resolution of industrial action.

However Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant said Loganair had told her the suspension of flights would be harder to reverse.

 “As soon as I was advised of the suspension of strike action I wrote to Loganair asking them to confirm that flights would be reinstated,” she said.

 “Unfortunately the response left a lot to be desired, with the chief executive advising me that while he welcomed the news, it would take lead time for customers to plan and book flights – something which wouldn’t have been required if the flights hadn’t been cancelled in the first place – and that until a successful ballot was undertaken the news would not be acted upon.

“It would appear that reinstating flights which have been needlessly cancelled is like stopping and turning a 500,000 tonne tanker. Given that disputes are often resolved before they reach strike action, perhaps Loganair needs to build swift reversal plans into its reaction scheme if it plans to continue having knee jerk reactions.”

Loganair said in a statement: “We warmly welcome this positive step forward in negotiations between HIAL airports and their unions.

“Loganair aims to resume services from Inverness to Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Stornoway and Benbecula as soon as it is practical to do so and we will issue further updates in due course in line with the ballot outcome.”


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.