Prospect members working in air traffic control for Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) are to stage a one day strike on 29 July over plans to centralise air traffic control in Inverness.
The one day strike marks an escalation in the industrial action which has been ongoing since January.
Prospect members in HIAL voted to continue industrial action, including the option for a strike, in June having initially voted for the action at the end of last year. They are taking the action because HIAL is pressing ahead with plans to close air traffic towers in the highlands and islands, centralising services in Inverness. this would remove high value jobs from remote communities, impacting strongly on those economies, and result in forced redundancies as people are unwilling to relocate from the communities they love and serve, to Inverness.
Ministers in the Scottish Government have refused to even meet those communities involved to discuss the impact this project would have on them.
David Avery, Prospect negotiator, said:
“Our members have been forced into this escalation of industrial action to protect the communities they serve. HIAL’s plan will remove high value skilled jobs from economies that can ill-afford to lose them, having a substantial negative impact on those communities.
“The Scottish Government has the power to step in on this debate but the minster hasn’t even taken the time to meet the local councils involved, or indeed is own MSPs, to discuss the impact of the remote towers project. We have since had the bizarre situation where UK minister Michael Gove discussed the matter with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar while the minister refuses.
“Prospect members are not averse to change but it has to be done in a way that maintains jobs and skills in remote communities. HIAL needs to halt these plans now so our members can get on with their jobs.”
HIAL is a public company wholly owned by Scottish Government Ministers.