Unite members launch days of action across eleven airports in pay dispute      


Unite the union, which represents members in the Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL) group has confirmed today (6 February) that strike action will hit all its 11 airports in the coming weeks.

 The workforce has rejected a five per cent offer which they deemed unacceptable with inflation soaring to 13.4 per cent (RPI). Unite represents security staff, baggage handlers, ground crew along with those working in fire and rescue, security and administration.

Several days of 24-hour strike action will now take place across all 11 airports on the following dates:

17 and 20 February - Dundee Airport 

21, 22, and 23 February - Barra Airport, Benbecula Airport, Campbeltown Airport, Inverness Airport, Islay Airport, Kirkwall Airport, Stornoway Airport, Sumburgh Airport, Tiree Airport, Wick Airport.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Inflation is at a generational high yet the HIAL group believe a substantial real terms pay cut is what our hard working members deserve. This is completely unacceptable. 


“Strike action is now inevitable at all 11 airports and this is entirely the fault of airport management and the Scottish Government. Unite will fully support our members in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions across the Highlands and Islands.”


HIAL, a private limited company wholly-owned by the Scottish Government, claims it is bound by funding obligations set by the Scottish Government. Unite has previously called on the Scottish Government to meet with the trade union, the workers and HIAL to improve pay, terms and conditions in the Highlands and Islands. 


The Scottish Government to date has not directly met with Unite to discuss pay, recruitment and retention of workers across the HIAL group.


Shauna Wright, Unite industrial officer said: “Unite believes our hard working members who keep the airports operating in isolated and rural communities across Scotland deserve far more than what is currently on the table. 


“Unite is once again calling on the Scottish Government to meet with us, the workers and HIAL management to fund an improved pay offer, and to deliver more investment in these communities. 


“If they do not then Unite’s strike action will be down to their inflexibility despite the Scottish Government showing flexibility in abundance in other areas of the public sector.” 


Members of Unite voted in December 2022 by 73.5 per cent in favour of taking strike action and by 92.8 per cent in favour of taking action short of strike in a bid to improve pay for rural communities amid a cost of living crisis.