Proposed Airport Cuts Threaten Security Screening Delays

MONCTON, Aug. 25 /CNW/ - Pending job cuts at Atlantic Canada airports threaten to exacerbate problems with security screening and fly in the face of official reports on airport security, the United Steelworkers (USW) union warns.

"A report this week from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority acknowledges there is a major problem with recruiting and retaining screeners and security workers at Canadian airports, leading to lengthy delays in obtaining security clearances," said Lawrence E. McKay, USW Area Coordinator in Atlantic Canada.

"In addition to the CATSA findings, the recent report of the federal inquiry into the Air India bombing tragedy also concluded there is a chronic problem with security delays and morale among airport security workers," McKay said.

The United Steelworkers represents hundreds of airport screeners and security employees in the Atlantic provinces and 25,000 security industry workers across the country.

The employer of security screeners at Atlantic Canada airports has informed the Steelworkers that layoffs and cuts in hours will begin at these airports in mid-September.

"Up to 40 per cent of our members will be affected by these cutbacks," McKay said. "The reason given to us is that CATSA is cutting allotted hours, which in turn will reduce the workforce."

"These job cuts defy logic. They disregard the well-documented need for improvements - not cutbacks - in airport security screening," McKay added.

"If there are cuts, we fear the security screening situation can only get worse."

For years the United Steelworkers has called on the federal government to legislate mandatory training standards, a comprehensive licensing regime and industry-wide employment conditions for security workers. Provinces also must pass enabling legislation for such reforms, the USW says.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information:

Lawrence E. McKay, USW Area Coordinator, 506-857-0999, 506-874-9240.

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