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Airport workers stage 24-hour strike in attempt to protect rural community jobs

AIRPORT workers in Scotland staged a 24-hour strike today in an attempt to protect jobs in rural communities across the country. 

Airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports (HIAL) — Benbecula, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Sumburgh — were closed to all but emergency flights after air traffic controllers took action over plans to introduce remote control towers.

HIAL is planning to centralise operations in Inverness and introduce integrated air traffic control services.

Representing the workers, the Prospect union said that today’s walkout marked an escalation of industrial action that began in January.

Negotiator David Avery said: “HIAL must halt its plan, which will remove high-value, skilled jobs from economies that can ill afford to lose them, having a substantial negative impact on those communities.

“Prospect members are not averse to change, but it has to be done in a way that maintains jobs and skills in remote communities.”

Airport bosses appealed to the union to let ongoing talks conclude before taking further action.

The Scottish government claimed that the changes to air traffic control would “improve resilience, safety and reliability of services.”

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