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New date announced for airport strike

A new date for a strike, as part of ongoing disputes between Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd and air traffic controllers, has been announced.

A new date for a day of strike action, as part of the ongoing air traffic controllers’ dispute, has been announced — Thursday, May 23.

Kirkwall Airport is to be affected by the strike, as are the airports run by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), in Dundee, Inverness, Wick, Sumburgh, Stornoway, and Benbecula. The strike action will last for 24 hours seeing Kirkwall Airport close to air traffic. Action short of a strike is also ongoing.

The union representing the ATCs, Prospect, has said the announcement of the new day comes following the breakdown of talks held last week.

Prospect had previously called off a day’s strike on April 26 to allow the company to develop new proposals. As no new offer has been made and with no further talks scheduled the union has said an offer is not likely to be tabled.

Notably, the new strike date is also the first day of the Orkney Folk Festival, which welcomes acts and visitors to the county from all over the world.

David Avery, Prospect negotiations officer, said: “Members have run out of patience with HIAL. Talks have been ongoing for more than a year to seek to resolve this dispute but to no avail. Prospect agreed to withdraw our strike action in April to allow further talks to take place and members trusted that HIAL would use that time to bring forward proposals to resolve the dispute — HIAL have abused that trust.

“Members do not want to take industrial action but have been left with no choice. If they want to prevent disruption across the highlands on May 23 and throughout the summer then Scottish Ministers need to intervene.”

Responding, Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL) managing director Inglis Lyon said they were “bitterly disappointed” and vowed to minimise any potential disruption wherever possible.

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