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New offer made to north air traffic controllers

By Gordon Calder

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A REVISED pay offer has been made to air traffic controllers in the Highlands and Islands in a bid to end an industrial dispute.

That was confirmed by employers, Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial), and comes after further talks with the Prospect union.

It has agreed to ballot controllers on the offer and has said no further strike action will be taken during that period. The union has yet to indicate the timescale for the ballot.

Hial managing director, Inglis Lyon, said: "We submitted a revised offer in a bid to resolve the current industrial dispute. Prospect has advised they will ballot air traffic control officers on that offer.

Wick was largely unaffected by the industrial action over a pay dispute.
Wick was largely unaffected by the industrial action over a pay dispute.

"While we are pleased that there will be no further strike action during the consultation period, it is extremely disappointing that the current work to rule remains in place.

"I once again apologise to our passengers, customers and people within our communities for any disruption caused during the ongoing industrial action."

The union has stressed it has been trying to resolve the dispute for more than a year and industrial action was only taken as a last resort.

Controllers have been working to rule since April because of the pay dispute. The union wants an increase of 10 per cent and claims its members at other airports are paid much more than those in the Highlands and Islands.

Talks have taken place between the two sides to try and resolve the issue but no agreement has yet been reached.

According to Hial, the air traffic controllers were offered a retention allowance that would have given air traffic controllers an additional £10,000 over a five-year period but it was rejected by the union.

Passengers flying from Wick John O' Groats airport were unaffected by the industrial action – taken at other airports in the Highlands and Islands – as a result of what was described as "a local arrangement".

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