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Air traffic control dispute between Highlands and Islands Airports and Prospect union continues

By Philip Murray

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Inverness Airport.
Inverness Airport.

INDUSTRIAL action at Highland airports is set to continue after union members voted to extend their protest over plans to centralise air traffic control operations.

The Prospect union served formal notice to Highlands and Islands Airports (Hial) yesterday that it will be continuing its industrial action from June 18.

The move follows a formal ballot among members, but stops short of strike action.

A spokesman for Hial said: "Prospect has advised that industrial action will continue from June 18 and that they will be limiting the action to a continuation of their industrial action short of a strike at this time.

"However, the continuation of the existing action will impact our passengers, the communities we serve, and our airlines at a time when we are beginning to see confidence in air travel return and passenger numbers increasing across all of our airports.

"We absolutely recognise the personal impact on those affected and will continue dialogue with Prospect to agree and finalise various policies to support our air traffic colleagues through the ATMS transition.

"With the recent relaxation to travel restrictions, the health and wellbeing of our passengers, customers remain foremost. Our dedicated airport teams continue to apply Covid mitigation measures to ensure the safety of everyone at each of our airports and of course prevent further spread of the virus.

"Full information on the measures in place are detailed on the Hial and airport websites – all of which can be reached via www.hial.co.uk.

The dispute stems from Hial's plans to centralise its air traffic control operations remotely at a site in Inverness.

The union argues that this could lead to a loss of almost 50 jobs at airport sites across the Highlands and Islands.

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