Shetland MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart, has said the Scottish Government has allowed the proposed Prospect Union strike to ‘come to this’ and ministers must think again. The proposed strike action is due to take place next Thursday, 29th July, in protest at proposed changes to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) air traffic control (ATC).
The Scottish Government’s Air Traffic Management 2030 Strategy (ATMS) would see jobs moved from Shetland and other area’s ATCs to Inverness. An independent report carried out for the Prospect Union estimated £18million would be taken away from island communities if implemented.
Since joining the Scottish Parliament Ms Wishart has opposed the proposed ATC changes. Ms Wishart raised the issue in a member’s business debate in January 2020. Last month Ms Wishart received a response to a Parliamentary Question revealing that the Scottish Government had not discussed the Island Communities Impact Assessment on HIAL’s ATMS.
Ms Wishart commented:
‘I had hoped that the Scottish Government would be encouraged to take the time to listen to local communities when the proposed strike was raised but instead it has allowed it to come to this.
‘The inflexibility of the Scottish Government means that many islanders will be inconvenienced including travellers due to go to hospital appointments.
‘Ministers must stop the project and think again.’
Notes to Editors
An independent report carried out for Prospect into the HIAL plan to relocate all air traffic controllers to a central location at Inverness can be found here.
You can see Ms Wishart’s debate here.
You can see Ms Wishart’s Parliamentary Question and the response here.