Air traffic controllers members of the Prospect trade union working at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) have voted to accept revised plans that retain jobs locally at on-site air traffic control (ATC) towers.
This follows the ‘shelving’ of HIAL’s project to relocate all air traffic controller jobs to a central remote tower in Inverness.
There will be the development of a centralised surveillance operation for Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Inverness, and Dundee airports, based at Inverness.
The negotiated proposals also include a review of air traffic service delivery in the next five years that takes into account the sustainability of the model, staff recruitment, retention and training, and the impact on local communities.
Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect said:
“This shows what unions can achieve when working with local communities to safeguard the future of essential local services. Throughout this process, we have engaged constructively with HIAL and are pleased to have reached an agreement that protects these highly-skilled jobs in rural communities and ensures the future of a vital transport network for local people.”
Inglis Lyon, HIAL’s managing director said:
“We are pleased that our colleagues have recognised the level of engagement and the compromise position that HIAL and Prospect have worked hard to achieve. This alternative delivery of the ATMS programme would benefit our teams, our local communities and help futureproof air traffic services for the Highlands and Islands.
“There is much work to do and moving forward we will continue to work closely with our colleagues and seek their input to develop the necessary detail.”
Separate working groups will be established to discuss the future service delivery options for Benbecula and Wick John O’Groats airports.