McArthur responds to suspension of HIAL industrial action

10 Mar 2023
G-LMRA ATR-42-500 Loganair LCY 12.2.20, by Colin Cooke, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/)

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the suspension of industrial action at HIAL airports following an enhanced pay offer that is now out for ballot by union members.

The new deal follows months of disruption to air services across the region and a decision by Loganair to suspend flights on routes serving Inverness and the islands during March and April.

Earlier this week, Orkney's MSP raised the issue again with the Transport Minister, Jenny Gilruth and urged her to step in and help end the long-running and damaging dispute. In response, Ms Gilruth confirmed that HIAL management had been given increased flexibility to improve their offer to staff, which has led to today’s announcement.

Responding to the announcement, Mr McArthur said:

"I warmly welcome the decision to suspend industrial action at HIAL airports. This will come as a huge relief to islanders after months of disruption.

"Hopefully a formal agreement can be reached soon, but I would urge Loganair to reinstate services between Inverness and the islands as soon as possible.

"Welcome though today’s news is, it is clear that a deal could have been done some time ago. The Transport Minister needs to explain why it took her so long to give HIAL bosses the same negotiating flexibility that counterparts at CalMac received months ago.

"Scottish Ministers have been playing a game of chicken with the unions over what are lifeline air services. Islanders deserve so much better."