TORONTO, Jan. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - Cuts to airport security screening
services that are speculated to be happening aren't about budget
savings and would further threaten national security and passenger
safety, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.
"Airport security screening suffered cutbacks and major disruptions due
to reorganization last year. Now the Canadian Air Transport Security
Agency (CATSA) is at it again," said Wayne Fraser, USW Ontario and
Atlantic Director. The USW represents pre-board security screeners at
numerous airports across Canada.
"Cutting even more is not the way to improve passenger safety or
national security," Fraser said. "In fact, the public is expecting just
the opposite. They want safer air travel and more-timely processing.
"Meanwhile, CATSA head office is growing and growing. They have some
explaining to do."
CATSA is a Crown corporation created in the wake of 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
In addition to the employer re-organization, CATSA cut staff and
screening hours by 15 to 20 per cent in May of last year.
"Our members are proud of the jobs they do," said Ken Neumann, the USW's
National Director for Canada. "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 processing?
"It is time the Harper Government took air safety serious. Minister of
Transportation, Infrastructure and Community Denis Lebel should act now
and recognize that a well-maintained, professional workforce in our
airports is an important first-line of defense and security for
Canadian travelers," added Neumann.
While it has been implementing screener cuts, CATSA's total expenses
have increased by 32% since 2007, from $438 million in 2007 to $576
million in 2011.
"We warned last May that cuts to screeners and screening hours are a
threat to passenger safety and national security," Fraser said. "Why
does CATSA keep squeezing front-line staff who deliver passenger
safety, while it's expanding a back-office empire of checkers checking
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