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Two airports shut as air traffic controllers strike

Union members have resumed industrial action after rejecting a revised pay deal.

Sumburgh Airport: Closed on Monday. Wikimedia

Two airports are shut as air traffic controllers take strike action over three days in a dispute over pay.

Prospect union members have resumed industrial action after rejecting a revised pay deal from Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial).

Six airports are affected by the action as union members stage 24-hour strikes between Sunday and Tuesday.

Sumburgh Airport in Shetland and Kirkwall Airport in Orkney are shut on Monday, while Inverness Airport was closed on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Stornoway, Benbecula and Dundee Airports will be closed.

Hial said the offer rejected by air traffic controllers comprised a retention allowance which would have seen them benefit from an additional £10,000 over a five-year period.

Managing director Inglis Lyon said previously that he “deeply regrets the inconvenience and upset to hundreds of passengers affected by the strike action”.

He called on Prospect to resume talks to find a resolution to the dispute as soon as possible and claimed the union is asking for a pay increase “far in excess of what we are able to afford”.

Air traffic controllers previously went on strike on May 23, when six airports were shut for 24 hours due to the industrial action.

Prospect national secretary Richard Hardy said the strikes are a “last resort”.

“Hial and Scottish ministers have left our members with no option but to strike,” he said previously.

“Strike action is by its nature disruptive but if we are to safeguard the long-term future of air services in the Highlands and Islands we have to start paying air traffic controllers a fair wage.”

Hial is a public corporation wholly owned by the Scottish ministers.

A Scottish Government spokesman has said the Government encourages both parties to resolve the dispute as it is “clearly not in the interest of passengers or the communities served by Hial airports”.

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