Unite members at Highland airports being balloted for strike action

Unite the Union today (4 November) notified Highland and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL) of their intention to ballot members for industrial action following the rejection of a 5 per cent pay offer. Unite members, who support  travel between some of the most remote islands in Scotland, have advised the company that they see the pay award as ‘insulting’ and well below what they are worth.  Living and working in some of the most remote communities in the country means the impact of the cost of living crisis is particularly acute. Food, petrol and housing costs are higher in rural communities as well as colder weather means higher energy prices impact those that live in rural areas more harshly, with the winter months particularly difficult.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “These workers provide a lifeline, connecting the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The work they do is vital in maintaining these communities. They should therefore expect and deserve a pay increase that reflects that. The cost of working in communities like this is higher than in many of our urban centres and the cost of living crisis is making this unaffordable. HIAL bosses must make a realistic pay offer to avoid escalating this into a full industrial dispute.

Shauna Wright, Unite regional officer said: “Our members provide a crucial role for the airport from firefighting and security to customer service, this pay award affects all our members across all grades and does nothing for the retention and the recruitment of staff on islands. Unite remain open to dialogue to seek a solution however all members deserve more and they deserve a pay that’s in line with the cost of living."


  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse Trade Union, with around 150,000 members. The Union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.