Pilots threaten to strike over ID cards
The first wave of ID cards to be issued to British citizens has prompted airline pilots to threaten a strike rather than accept the documents.
Aviation workers have warned that proposals to make airport staff register for the cards from next year would do little to improve security. The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), which represents 10,000 of the 12,000 commercial pilots and flight engineers in Britain, said its members were being treated as “guinea pigs”. Jim McAuslan, Balpa’s general secretary, said the Government’s “early warning system should be flashing” over opposition to the plans.
Mr McAuslan, whose union holds its annual conference at Heathrow later this week, said he would be consulting members on the possibility of industrial action if the Government presses ahead with the plans. “It may come to an industrial dispute,” he said. “We would want to avoid that. We would want the Government to think again about the compulsory nature of it and think again about the whole scheme. The Government has said previously that ID cards will be voluntary but the indications are that if you choose not to have a card you will not get an airside pass.”
Despite what Jacqui Smith, Home Surveillance Secretary, says about a demand for ID cards, when it comes to the crunch – i.e. being made to pay over £50 for them or lose your job – hardly anyone wants them.
This is why the Government is having to force soft targets such as pilots and airside workers and students to have them, gradually salami-slicing their way through the population.
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), which represents 10,000 of the 12,000 commercial pilots and flight engineers in Britain, said its members were being treated as “guinea pigs”.
The British Air Transport Association, which represents airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, branded the scheme a “dubious PR initiative by the Government and one that fails to offer any real benefits”