Pilots to strike over ID cards

Airline pilots are threatening to strike over ID cards, it has been revealed.

The move follows government plans to pilot the scheme on workers in two airports in the UK.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) firmly believes the introduction of ID cards will do little to improve airport security.

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of Balpa, raised concerns about the benefit the introduction of ID cards to airport staff will have, saying: “We are not convinced that this will improve airport security.”

Speaking to the BBC, Balpa said a ballot over industrial action will take place “within the next few days”.

The association is worried workers are being used as “guinea pigs” and that the governments “early warning system should be flashing” at the level of opposition against the proposed plans.

The British Air Transport Association (Bata) has also voiced their concerns about the benefits introducing ID cards would have.

Roger Wiltshire, secretary general of Bata said: “To many it appears to be little more than a dubious PR initiative by the government and one that fails to offer any real benefits. As such we will not be rushing to volunteer for it.”

With Balpa threatening industrial action this could have very serious consequences for British Airways (BA). If the strike does proceed then this will be the first time since 1980 that BA pilots have gone on strike.

“There is no strike action in place at the moment, Balpa are simply expressing their concerns,” a BA spokesman said.

The company has condemned Balpa’s decision to pursue industrial action.

Speaking to the BBC, BA said: “We are disappointed that Balpa has confirmed its intention to ballot its members for industrial action over our plans for our new subsidiary airline, OpenSkies.”

“Labour should take their heads out of the sand and abandon this £19 billion white elephant which will do nothing to improve our security but may well make it worse,” shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve told the Independent.

The Tories have promised to scrap the plans if they are elected.
The government believes that the introduction of ID cards to airport staff will not only help with security but also improve efficiency.