Air Traffic Controllers at Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), members of Prospect, have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action. On a turnout of 86%, 88% of controllers voted for strike action with 90% backing action short of a strike.
Scottish Government Ministers had rejected a business case to resolve the dispute.
Prospect will consult representatives next week before confirming industrial action plans. The action is likely to start in April and continue through the summer.
David Avery Prospect negotiations officer said:
“Prospect members have overwhelmingly backed the union’s position and sent a clear message to the Scottish Government that enough is enough.
“Our members at HIAL undertake highly skilled roles, much in demand across the UK and Europe, but due to public sector pay restraint their pay has fallen significantly behind the rest of the industry.
“Air Traffic Controllers do not want to have to take this action but Ministers’ refusal to engage with the issue of pay has left them with no choice. Prospect remains ready to negotiate at any point to avoid this action but ministers must come back to the table with a new meaningful offer.”
HIAL have stated their disappointment with the result of the ballot. A HIAL spokesperson said:
“HIAL made a pay award offer to all staff which was accepted following an overall ballot of trade union members and paid to all staff at the end of September 2018. This was backdated to 1 April 2018 and saw colleagues receive increases of up to three per cent in line with Scottish Government Pay Remit Guidelines.
“Prospect ATC members rejected the pay settlement, but nonetheless received the increase.”
The strike will have a significant impact.
Local MSP John Finnie, who is the Scottish Greens Transport spokesperson said:
“The Scottish Ministers own HIAL and have a responsibility to ensure this situation is resolved urgently, with a fair settlement for staff. It’s perhaps no surprise that the Transport Secretary refused to say he had confidence in HIAL’s management the last time I asked him.
“I continue to offer solidarity and support to Prospect and its members.”