Controllers strike shuts six airports


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Image caption Inverness is one of six Hial airports affected by industrial action

Six regional airports closed at midnight at the start of a 24-hour strike by air traffic controllers.

The affected airports are Benbecula, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Sumburgh.

The union Prospect has called for a staff pay rise of at least 10%, arguing that air traffic controllers in the private sector earn much more.

Hial, which is owned by the Scottish government, said it had to follow government pay policy.

Wick John O’Groats Airport had also expected to be affected by the strike, but Hial said it had made arrangements to keep the site open.

Barra, Campbeltown, Islay and Tiree airports will also remain open on Thursday.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Dundee is another of the airports due to close on Thursday

The controllers have been working to rule since the beginning of April.

Prospect agreed to suspend a strike planned for 26 April to allow for talks.

But the discussions, facilitated by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, broke down earlier this month and a strike date was set for Thursday.

Hial has said the controllers’ wage demand “greatly exceeds” the policy, adding that the comparison with the private sector is “misleading and unrealistic” due to the different volume of air traffic movements.

Prospect said the airports company should stop “antagonising” staff and focus on persuading the Scottish government to help resolve the dispute.

The Scottish government has urged both Prospect and Hial to return to talks.

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