North air traffic controllers have agreed to a pay deal offered by airport bosses, bringing the long-running dispute to an end.
The dispute between Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial) and staff over pay has been rumbling on for more than a year.
Action included essential staff working to rule and staging so-called “snap” strikes over three days in the summer, which disrupted thousands of passengers.
But yesterday, the dispute was over as staff voted to accept a deal after negotiations between Hial and Prospect union.
Hial managing director Inglis Lyon said yesterday: “I’m pleased to advise that the ATC pay dispute has now been resolved. Prospect has confirmed that, following a ballot of their membership, there was an overwhelming acceptance of our revised pay offer.
“Acceptance of this offer sees air traffic controllers receiving the 2019/20 pay increase already awarded to other Hial staff, along with a commitment to a similar award in 2020/21, assuming that Scottish Government’s pay policy remains broadly the same. In addition, they will receive a retention payment for a three-year period.
“This now draws the ATC industrial action to a close and we look forward to working with our air traffic control staff as we strive to maintain and develop sustainable airport services for the future.”
The offer, put forward by Hial to air traffic controllers of the Prospect union, involves an already agreed pay rise implemented for the 2019-20 period, with a similar award also taking place for 2020-21.
David Avery, Prospect negotiations officer, said: “We are pleased that our members have accepted this new deal and that this long-running dispute can now be brought to an end.
“Air traffic controllers provide a vital service for the Highlands and Islands and deserve to have their work and skills properly compensated and we are pleased that this deal represents real progress.
“The deal has required compromise on both sides and I would like to thank Scottish Ministers for giving Hial the authority to reach a deal, and we look forward to working constructively with Hial in the future.”
Scottish Greens transport spokesman John Finnie MSP said: “Hial’s air traffic controllers play a vital role, allowing lifeline flights to service remote, rural and island communities throughout the Highlands and Islands. My constituents will be relieved, as I am, that this long running dispute has finally been resolved.
“Prospect deserves enormous credit for holding out for a fair deal for its members.”