Airside staff fed up with being used as 'guinea pigs'; City airport first to face trouble
PILOTS at the City airport could find themselves in the front line of the campaign against ID cards, after Balpa, the pilots union, said it may strike over its members being used as "guinea pigs".
This time next year, the City airport and Manchester airport are scheduled to be the first to require airside staff to carry the government's controversial new ID cards and Balpa feel this is wrong.
"It may come to an industrial dispute, " said Balpa leader Jim McAuslan. "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."
The government's case on ID cards is to do with increased security and its supporters say that nowhere is security more important than at airports, a traditional target for terrorists.
The battle lines in the dispute are likely to be drawn later this week when Balpa holds its annual conference at Heathrow and when the government releases the details of next autumn's scheme.
Once the City and Manchester airports, ahem, pilot scheme is over, the plan is for ID cards to be rolled out to staff at all UK airports and then to other sections of the population, such as people getting new passports.
When the government first came up with the ID card plan a few years back, polls showed it to be popular, but after an effective counter-campaign, surveys show a majority now opposed.