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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 11:35 GMT
Union strike as security row rages
Manchester Airport
A series of strikes are taking place at the airport
A fourth strike by security guards has taken place at Manchester Airport on Monday, just days after a breach of security at the airport.

A security guard employed by a private firm at the airport has been suspended after fake explosives, detonators and genuine firearms passed a check for a commercial flight.

The airport is in a bitter battle with unions over the cutting of 140 security staff, and over claims that staff with less training will be brought in on lower wages.

The Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) has said the incident highlights the dangers of using less experienced staff - but the airport says the suspended guard was fully trained.


We want to move forward but the airport refuses to offer any compromise

Dave McCall, T&G

The arms were taken on to a British Airways flight to Gatwick on Friday 8 February, by a company testing security procedures.

The airport said the member of staff, employed by Securicor ADI was fully trained, and that the company met government security standards.

An airport spokesman told BBC News Online: "The company has the contract for screening held-baggage. This was an error by an experienced member of staff.

Security test

"This breach had nothing to do with the security issues here.

"We have said we want to talk to the unions about their ongoing action here, but not until they call off the strikes."

Permission had been given by British Airways with the items declared at check-in as part of the security test.

A BA spokeswoman told BBC News Online the cargo was not "smuggled" because BA was fully aware of the items in the bag.


We will talk to the unions when they call off the strikes

Manchester Airport spokesman

But Dave McCall, T&G regional secretary, told BBC News Online: "The incident backs up what we have been saying about bringing in new security staff on lower rates of pay.

"We would like to see a public inquiry into what has happened here. The issue here is about the quality and quantity of staff.

"We want to move forward but the airport refuses to offer any compromise."

On Monday about 75 pickets gathered outside Terminal Two.

The 250 security staff, and 50 car parking and information desk staff plan to step up their action with a two-hour stoppage on Thursday.

T&G general secretary, Bill Morris, has written to Transport Secretary Stephen Byers about the dangers of cutting numbers and bringing in untrained staff.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jane Warr
"A spokeswoman for the airport said it was a matter of great concern"
Bill Morris, Transport and General Workers Union
"We should be increasing security, not cutting it"

Click here to go to Manchester
See also:

07 Feb 02 | England
Airport hit by second walk-out
04 Feb 02 | England
Airport staff walk out
29 Jan 02 | England
Strikes loom at Manchester Airport
02 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Spotting the face of deception
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