Alan Travis writes in The Guardian:
Airline pilots are to become the first group to refuse to take part in the national identity scheme when compulsory trials start at Manchester and London City airports this autumn.
The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa ), which represents more than 80% of commercial airline pilots, is to mount a legal challenge to Home Office plans to use “critical” airside workers as the first compulsory “guinea pigs” for the scheme.
MPs are shortly to be asked to approve the powers to compel the pilots and other airside workers at the two airports to register for the national ID card scheme as part of their “pre-employment” checks. The £30 fee is to be waived as an incentive for them to sign up.
The pilots’ union has protested to ministers that the £18m scheme cannot be regarded as voluntary when they are being told they will not qualify for an “airside pass” without them: “ID cards will have absolutely no value as far as security is concerned. This is nothing other than coercion and promises that ID cards would be voluntary have been broken,” Jim McAuslan, Balpa general secretary, has told ministers. “We will resist.”