Scottish trade unionists urged to act over air traffic services sell-off

Scottish trade unionists urged to act over air traffic services sell-off

Remotely-operated, unstaffed control towers in parts of Scotland moved a step closer after the UK government’s decision to explore the sale of its remaining share in NATS


Prospect, which has 10,000 members in the public and private sectors in Scotland, will raised its concerns at the STUC congress, in April in Dundee.

It will call for the STUC to lobby both the UK and Scottish government to retain public control of air traffic services at Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.

Warning that any sale will further expose a national asset to private bidders in the same way that led to Gatwick’s air traffic services coming under the control of a German provider, the union will also urge the STUC to ensure the future of Prestwick’s air traffic control centre and that there will be no unstaffed operations at Scottish government-owned Highlands and Islands Airports.

Alan Denney, Prospect’s Scottish national secretary, said: “The union is concerned that extending the role of private operators could accelerate the introduction of remotely-operated towers because of dubious assumptions about long-term cost savings.

“Both the concept and the technology are still in their infancy and we simply do not have enough experience of remotely-operated towers. Safety is always our paramount concern and this is unlikely to be best served by using the equivalent of a remote games console hundreds of miles away.”

Health and Safety Executive

There will be further motions from Prospect are on health and safety and heritage issues.

The union will say that for the Health and Safety Executive to maintain its frontline inspection, investigation and enforcement work it should not become a stand alone Scottish body but instead retain its access to existing UK-wide infrastructure and resources.

The union has also tabled a motion on the positive economic benefits of a vibrant Scottish heritage sector, against the background of a 30% cut in funding since 2010.

The union will call for the STUC and affiliates to lobby the Scottish government for additional funding to ensure Scotland’s cultural heritage and the jobs supporting it are protected and that free access to national and local collections is maintained.

For further information contact:

Alan Denney
0131 558 5288 (w)
07713 511702 (m)
[email protected]
Graham Stewart
020 7902 6605 (w)
07525 403185 (m)
[email protected]