Pilots have threatened to strike over Government plans to use them as “guinea pigs” in its ID card scheme.
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), which represents most of the country’s commercial pilots, said the Government’s “early warning system should be flashing” over its opposition to plans to force aviation workers be the first Britons to carry ID cards.
Jim McAuslan, Balpa’s general secretary, said his members resented being treated as guinea pigs and added: “It may come to an industrial dispute.
“We would want to avoid that. We would want the Government to think again about the whole scheme,” he told The Independent.
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The Government insists that the cards must be fast-tracked to airport staff due to the importance of high security in their workplaces. The Home Office is preparing to unveil a plan to make staff at Manchester and London City airports sign up for an ID card before they can apply for security accreditation necessary for workers at the sites. Under the plans, ID cards will be issued to staff from next autumn.
Mr McAuslan said: “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.”
ID cards are due to be introduced to the population in 2010, with young people the first to receive them. The plan is opposed by both the Conservatives, who have promised to scrap it if they win the next election, and the Liberal Democrats.