In an indicative ballot in October members strongly backed strike action.
Before Christmas, in an attempt to resolve the dispute, Prospect and HIAL jointly agreed an evidence-based business case, setting out:
- the pay gap between HIAL and the rest of the industry
- the staff shortages this has caused, and
- the risk to maintaining service provision if HIAL cannot attract and retain controllers.
Earlier this week Scottish Ministers rejected the business case. No explanation was given and no additional funding has been offered, therefore we have been given no choice but to ballot on industrial action.
Prospect negotiator David Avery said: "Scottish Ministers have been promising pay restoration for public sector workers but their policy fails to deliver.
“There is a global shortage of air traffic controllers which is driving wages up across the industry - at the same time HIAL staff have received below inflation pay awards.
"It is unfair that a HIAL air traffic controller, providing an essential service for the highlands and islands, is being paid half as much their counterpart in London - enough is enough.
“Our members have tried every other means to resolve this dispute. But by rejecting a fair and reasonable proposal to resolve the dispute, ministers have left them with no option but to pursue strike action.”