Highlands & Islands

Inverness chamber concerned about strike at Hial sites

Air travel Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Concerns have been raised about the affect the industrial action will have on trade and tourism

The chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce has urged management and union leaders to resolve a strike affecting regional airports.

Stewart Nicol said the industrial action by security staff who work at 11 Highlands and Islands Airports Limited sites could affect trade and tourism.

More than 120 members of the Prospect union began the 48-hour strike at midday on Tuesday.

Hial and Prospect are in a dispute over the employees' pay and conditions.

Scottish government-owned Hial has given managers training in security work to keep 10 of the airports open. Dundee has been temporarily shut.

Mr Nicol told BBC Radio Scotland: "I am quite concerned about the message this is putting out about the Highlands.

"Our reliance on the air routes is quite critical. For us as a region we are disproportionally reliant on them."

He added: "I would continue to urge management and the union to work together to get a resolution on this."

Hial runs Inverness, Dundee, Wick, Campbeltown airports and airports in the Hebrides and Northern Isles.

The industrial action is due to end at midday on Thursday.

In a statement, Hial said it was "business as usual" at 10 of its 11 airports.

It said: "Only scheduled services between Dundee and Stansted are suspended today.

"All other services are scheduled to operate. There are no delays to flights due to strike action."

Hial asked that passengers arrived 15 to 20 minutes early for flight and limit the amount of liquids and luggage they brought to the airport.

The company said it had an offer to Prospect to restart talks.

The union has accused Hial of telling the media first of its offer, adding that it was already for talks but would not resume negotiations without an offer on improved pay and conditions.

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