Highlands and Islands airport staff walk out in second festive strike

Some of Scotland's most remote airports will shut due to the strike action by members of Unite union.

Highlands and Islands airport staff walk out on second day of festive strikes iStock

Airport workers across the Highlands and Islands are walking out on their second day of strike action amid an ongoing dispute over pay.

Passengers have been urged to check their journeys ahead of time for any of Scotland’s most remote airports.

Barra, Benbecula, and Sumburgh airports will be closed on Thursday between 12.01am and 23.59pm.

Stornoway Airport will operate on a limited basis, opening between 1pm and 7.45pm, while Kirkwall Airport will open between 7.15am and 1pm for inter-island flights only.

However, Campbelltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Tiree and Wick John O’Groats will all remain open.

It comes after the first day of strike action was held on Monday by members of Unite across 11 airports under the HIAL (Highlands and Islands Airports Limited) – including those working in fire and rescue, security and administration – after voting 73.5% in favour.

Unite say a tabled 5% rise offered by the company was “unacceptable”, however HAIL bosses said they were “disappointed” in the decision to strike.

Inglis Lyon, HIAL’s managing director said: “We apologise in advance for the inevitable disruption this action by Unite colleagues will cause for our airlines and passengers.

“Whilst recognising the financial challenges our colleagues face, we are disheartened that they will be taking strike action which will greatly inconvenience our passengers and local communities so close to the festive holiday period.

“We will liaise closely with our local teams, airlines, and partners to determine what can be done to minimise the disruption on both days. Meantime, all communication channels remain open in a bid to avoid this strike action. However, I would urge anyone intending to travel on these dates to keep in touch with their airline.”

Shauna Wright, Unite industrial officer said: “Unite does not accept that HIAL, a private limited company wholly-owned by the Scottish Government, does not have the ability to increase the offer.

“Claims previously made that it is bound by funding obligations set by the Scottish Government, will not placate our members or settle this dispute.

“Unite is therefore calling on the Scottish Government as a matter of urgency to meet with us, the workers and HIAL and to put forward additional funding that will improve pay, terms and conditions in the Highlands and Islands and bring an end to this dispute.”

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