Highland and Islands airport pay dispute ends as union accept deal

More than 90% of Unite the union members voted to accept the revised pay offer.

Highland and Islands airport pay dispute ends as Unite the union members accept deal STV News

Disputes over pay at airports in the Highlands and Islands have ended as a deal has been reached.

Unite the union confirmed on Tuesday that the long-running pay dispute involving 120 members across the Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL) Group is over after a revised pay offer was accepted. 

In December, 73.5% of members voted in favour of taking strike action while 92.8% voted in favour of taking action short of a strike in a bid to improve pay for rural communities amid the cost of living crisis. 

Union members, who represent security staff, baggage handlers, ground crew along with those working in fire and rescue, security and administration, voted to accept a revised pay offer by 93%.

The deal ensures a basic salary uplift of 7% for those earning up to £44,000, and a 5% increase to shift allowances.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite’s members across the Highlands and Islands airports stood firm and fought to achieve a positive result. Unite’s members are to be congratulated for leading the fight to secure better jobs, pay and conditions across the Highlands and Islands.”

Shauna Wright, Unite industrial officer said: “The deal secured at the HIAL Group represents a significant shift in position from when the industrial action by Unite members started in December. 

“There has been movement by the company, and ultimately the Scottish Government, which has brought the dispute to an end for Unite. We are pleased our members will receive a significant boost to their pay and conditions. 

“We are also urging the Scottish Government to grant HIAL the flexibility to negotiate with trade unions going forward and this must entail a review of how the public pay policy actually works in practice.”

Inglis Lyon, HIAL’s managing director said: “We are pleased that the enhanced offer has been accepted by colleagues.

“The most recent offer exceeded the original flexibility of the Scottish Government pay policy, providing a 7% salary uplift for those earning £44,000 or less, a 5% uplift for those earning up to £80,000, with 4% over that salary level. 

“We are sorry that the industrial action and route suspensions have caused considerable disruption for passengers and our customers, particularly for those on our island communities who rely on our airports to support essential and lifeline services. 

“We also apologise for the significant impact the action has had on our airline partners.

“This positive result will provide our partner airlines with the certainty they require to plan air connectivity for their passengers.”

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