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Unions line up against airline ID cards

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Unions representing airline and airport staff are to tell Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that her plan to force staff to carry ID cards will add nothing to airport security.

They say she is adding complexity and expense to an already secure system. The Trade Unions Congress is to meet Smith later this week but has already written to tell her that "Unions representing the airport workforce recognise the need for effective security measures but see no evidence that these proposals would enhance airport security arrangements". The Congress also warns of "joint and determined opposition".

Concerns about the trialling of ID cards on airport staff include the extra expense and delays for new recruits. The unions also believe the cards will do little to provide extra security and are worried the project has no real future, the FT reports. Smith is proposing to force certain professions to carry the cards both to trial the technology and to force wider acceptance of the cards.

The major UK airlines have already come out against compulsory ID cards for their staff. They said earlier this month that ID cards would add extra costs and risks to a system that is already secure. BA, BMI, Easyjet and Virgin said the government should concentrate on sorting out immigration controls and reducing queues, instead. ®

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