TORONTO, Jan. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Further cuts to airport security
screening services will mean airport delays and seriously compromise
national security and passenger safety, the United Steelworkers (USW)
"Airport security screening suffered cutbacks and major disruptions from
last year's reorganization. Now the Canadian Air Transport Security
Agency (CATSA) is making more major cuts. This can't go on without
adding to airport lineups and affecting passenger safety," said Wayne
Fraser, USW Ontario and Atlantic Director. The USW represents pre-board
security screeners at numerous airports across Canada.
In addition to the employer re-organization, CATSA cut staff and
screening hours by 15 to 20 per cent in May of last year. Now CATSA is
rolling out a further round of cuts. Just in Toronto, almost 300
security screeners are being laid off at Pearson International Airport
at the end of January.
"Additional cuts are not the way to improve passenger safety, national
security or wait times," said Ken Neumann, the USW's National Director
for Canada. "The public is expecting, and paying for, improvements, not
reductions. They want safer air travel and more-timely processing."
Passenger fees for security screening range from $7.48 for a one-way
domestic flight, to up to $25.91 for an international flight.
CATSA is a Crown corporation created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist
attacks. In an unprecedented reorganizing move for little reward, CATSA
overhauled airport security in Canada by re-assigning third-party
contracts to security services suppliers through a bidding process in
"Our members are proud of the jobs they do," said Neumann. "They protect
the public, they protect our national and international aviation
security. But how can we maintain that level of public safety when
CATSA keeps cutting front-line jobs and insisting on faster passenger
"It is time the Harper Government took air safety seriously. Minister of
Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities Denis Lebel should act
now and recognize that a well-maintained, professional workforce in our
airports is an important first-line of defence and security for
Canadian travellers," added Neumann.
"These cuts don't make any sense. Each passenger pays a fee for security
screening. Air travel is up, more people are travelling. So where's the
money going? It's not going to front-line security, I can tell you
that," Fraser added.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Wayne Fraser, USW District Director, 416-577-4045
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5950
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-544-5966