Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Monday, 17 March 2008

Airport workers' ID card 'insult'

Dummy ID card
Airport workers will be issued with ID cards from late 2009

Union leaders representing airport workers are to meet Home Office officials to express their concern at being among the first to have ID cards.

Steve Turner of the Unite union will say that his members oppose the plan.

Mr Turner says staff are already extensively vetted before being given airside passes.

The Home Office says that recording the fingerprints of staff will speed up the checking process and help maintain public confidence in airport security.

Why target airport workers as ID card guinea pigs?
Gareth Crossman

Unite's airport workers officer Steve Turner says it is wrong that his members should face a 30 charge for an identity card before they can apply for an airside pass.

"It is the thin end of the wedge," he said.

"We are not opposed to improved security, but we see no measure in the identity cards that will improve security. People are insulted over this. What does it say about aviation workers that they have been chosen to pilot this scheme?"

Civil liberties campaign group Liberty said there was no reason to bring in a new kind of card.

"From spies to schoolteachers, there are so many of us who need both prior vetting and security passes, so why target airport workers as ID card guinea pigs? There is no reason why all of our sensitive details need to be held in one place", Liberty policy director Gareth Crossman said.

Delivery plan

The Home Office published the National Identity Scheme Delivery Plan on 6 March.

"The first ID cards will be issued to people working in specific sensitive roles or locations where verification of identity will enhance the protection of the public. This will start in the second half of 2009, with the issuing of identity cards to those working airside in the country's airports", the Home Office said in a statement.

"Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly will jointly chair a meeting of industry representatives to ensure the smooth introduction of these new measures."

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