During First Minister’s Questions today, Shetland MSP Tavish Scott asked Nicola Sturgeon what the Scottish Government will do to make sure planned strike action by HIAL Air Traffic Controllers is avoided. Air Traffic Controllers across the HIAL network plan to strike from 26 April, closing Sumburgh Airport to lifeline flights.
In response, the First Minister failed to set out what the Government was doing to prevent such action, and instead outlined the public sector pay policy HIAL is bound by and encouraged them to continue talks with the union.
Commenting, Tavish said:
“If this strike goes ahead it will seriously disrupt lifeline services to and from the isles, including patients who might have been awaiting vital medical appointments. Strikes could potentially run from 26 April through to 31 August, meaning months of cancellations and disruption.
“HIAL is a government owned company so the government should be doing everything possible to prevent this from happening. The First Minister must instruct the Cabinet Secretary and his officials to explore all avenues to end this dispute.
“The strength of feeling amongst Air Traffic Controllers is symptomatic of wider concerns regarding HIAL’s policies, including the plans to centralise Air Traffic Control centres and the imposition of parking charges, amidst increased government funding.”