Highlands & Islands

Strike threat Hial airport staff in train bosses claim

Security staff at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited have been "forced" to train managers to do their job in case of a strike, a union has claimed.

Members of the Prospect and other unions are being balloted in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Prospect said at Inverness Airport managers were handling passenger security on flights to Northern Ireland and Orkney as part of the training.

Hial denied workers had been forced to carry out training with managers.

Prospect said all 160 security staff at Hial's airports, including Inverness, Dundee and some islands, had been offered a "miserly" 1% increase to a £6.85 hourly rate.

Union representative Alan Denney said on Tuesday that it was still hoped a negotiated settlement could be achieved.

He added: "My members have spent today and yesterday being forced, and I don't think that is to strong a word, to train and educate managers about their job.

"Normally this training takes 10 days followed by an exam and then followed by 40 hours on the job training before people are qualified to do the job."

Inglis Lyon, of Hial, said the Inverness management team refuted the "forced" claim.

He said: "Hial would not, and has not, forced any of its staff to carry out training with managers. This is absolutely incorrect."

The managing director said in the "unlikely event" of a strike the airports would be open and running as normal.

Mr Lyon said: "The staff will be perfectly able to undertake the role.

"The staff will do it, hopefully, as well as the security staff that currently do it."

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