Skip to comments.Call to Suspend Flights to U.S. after Guards are Filmed Sleeping on the Job (U.K.)
Posted on 06/03/2007 8:56:55 AM PDT by DogByte6RER
Call to suspend flights to U.S. after guards are filmed sleeping on the job
By MARTIN DELAGO
Last updated at 12:41pm on 3rd June 2007
A leading American Congressman has called for flights from one of Britain's biggest airports to New York to be suspended - after guards who should have been checking suitcases for bombs and guns were filmed sleeping or reading newspapers.
Bennie G. Thompson - chairman of the Congress Homeland Security Committee - made the demand after watching secret TV footage from a six-month undercover investigation at Birmingham airport.
He said: "If what I saw is the rule of how passenger security is conducted...the flights should be stopped until we get better trained personnel to do the job required to guarantee the safety of passengers."
Security at the airport is under investigation after the lapses, which include inadequate passenger searches and falsification of paperwork by officials.
There are also claims that planes were left unguarded on the ground and that security personnel were not told about new checking procedures.
One worker is heard boasting about getting a job with an airport security company - despite having a criminal record with convictions for grievous bodily harm and drink-driving.
Female passengers are said to have been allowed to board planes without being frisked because of a shortage of female security officers.
The footage is to be shown in tomorrow's edition of Tonight With Trevor McDonald on ITV1.
Staff responsible for examining X-rays of luggage are seen reading and doing puzzles instead of watching computer screens.
At one point, a female security agent is seen flicking through a newspaper, apparently ignoring an X-ray image of a suitcase passing across the screen in front of her.
A male security supervisor is shown sleeping on a seat near the departure lounge when he should have been carrying out checks on a Continental Airlines flight about to take off for New York.
A conversation between two baggage-checkers has one saying laughingly to a colleague who has failed to look at her screen: "You should have been concentrating."
Colleague: "I was bloody miles away."
First checker: "You're giving our bad habits away here. We don't care now anyway."
A security worker guarding a plane is filmed standing 50 yards from the ramp, talking to a colleague, with his back to the aircraft.
Aviation security expert Chris Yates said: "He is supposed to ensure those in close contact with the aircraft have proper authorisation. Anybody could have interfered with that plane."
Security duties are divided between the airport's own staff and private firms, including ICTS UK, which has 2,000 employees in Britain and Ireland.
Most of the allegations concern workers from ICTS.
In a statement to ITV, the firm said: "We immediately initiated a full investigation.
"Our investigation will continue and reports will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities."
An airport spokesman said: "The allegations relate solely to ICTS.
"We are confident that the actions already taken continue to assure the safety and security of passengers.
"ICTS has highlighted concerns that the material in the programme may have been contrived to exaggerate and sensationalise the issues."
But a spokesman for the programme said: "Our investigation exposes serious security lapses by some ICTS staff which raise concerns of important public interest regarding passenger safety.
"We stand by the integrity of our evidence which speaks for itself.
"This evidence was gathered over a six-month period by a long-standing ICTS employee and by one of our own investigators.
"We researched security procedures thoroughly and this is reflected in the programme."
Continental Airlines said: "The safety and security of our customers and employees is our No1 priority and we would never operate a flight unless we were convinced it was safe."
Do they have a British equivalent to our labor unions? If so, you couldn’t fire that guy. Union workers see sleeping on the job as one of their rights.
Mate, this Birmingham is in England, not MS.
Well, duh. But Bennie is MS’s rep. And Birmingham is in Alabama, not Mississippi.
Why should they care? From these photos it appears that all the ‘security people’ were immigrants. My guess is that they hired at the lowest pay to save MONEY.
Look on the bright side. At least they’re not doing their shopping from the passengers’ luggage like the TSA does.
No doubt...we still sleep on straw & feather beds and everybody knows that people from Mississippi can't read or use the computer!
People in glass houses... As if America's "Homeland Security" (HA!) is any better, in the airports or at the border...
United Steelworkers of America (Local 8888), Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard.
Trust me, I do know what I'm talking about here.
I saw it while I was in the Navy and while I worked at the yard as a contractor.
Sure, just look at the booming economy in Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and all those other booming northern union towns. I don't know why we can't get auto makers to come to Mississippi and build new multi-million dollar factories. HMMMMMM!
With due respect, Wiley
hate to tell you...come to NY, either LGA or JFK, and observe some of the brain dead TSA people at work in those airports...
And you’ve never seen nonunion workers sleeping on the job?
They're not talking about non union workers here.
Trying to avoid a union shop is only one of the reasons that plants are being built in Southern States, if at all.
Cheap labor, relatively cheap land, big tax breaks, absence of worker protection mechanisms, easier access to transportation, and lower energy costs are some of the others.
When places like Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh where in their heyday they were union manned, and the envy of the world. When the owners decided to spend their capital building more modern factories in foreign countries, and began letting their American plants become obsolete and ill-maintained, then no workers could possibly keep things going, no matter how hard they tried.
The remark I responded to:
“Do they have a British equivalent to our labor unions? If so, you couldnt fire that guy. Union workers see sleeping on the job as one of their rights.”
The US has a Birmingham in Alabama, not Mississippi.
When the owners decided to spend their capital building more modern factories in foreign countries,
The companies didn't leave the states to modernize their foreign factories. They left because the union workers demanded to be paid $30/hr to turn a wrench. That, my friend, is why the fore mentioned cities are now called, "The Rust Capitol".
I've been to those cities who still use union labor exclusively. It took me 18 hours to get a truck unloaded because of all the breaks and union BS. Not because of the owners. The company I hauled for had to pay an extra $430 just for my detention time due to the laziness of the "Made in the USA" union workers. Finally, their wonderful work and pension plans add approximately $3800 to the cost of a new car. And you want to blame the Owners of the companies? Don't you think that cost is past on to us?
Like I said, spin it as you please while the workers change shifts in Mississippi at the new Toyota and Nissan plants while making a decent and reasonable wage.
Wouldn't need one. It's extremely difficult to get rid of employees in the UK. Conservatively, you'd need 6 months and records after records of "issues" with the follow up counciling.
Actually, there is a Birmingham, MS. It's in Lee county on County Road 251 just north of Tupelo, MS. Just FYI
Did you forget to say: “Please”?
Immediately after 9/11, a good friend - who was over sixty at the time - applied for a job with TSA. The training was extremely arduous both physically and mentally. At the airport where she now works standards are very high. Perhaps it varies from airport to airport.
Those idiots at Birmingham should all be fired and/or charged with public endangerment.
Originally the TSA was to be called the Federal Air Transport Aviation Security Service but it wouldn’t fit on the jackets and when they used the acronym it spelled out F A T A S S.
In the last month I’ve been in 4 different airports and with the exception of Toledo OH, the TSA staff were indolent, arrogant, pimply teenagers entirely worthy of the above acronym.
Creating another unionized federal bureacracy was just another example of Dubya getting rolled by the ‘Rats.
It’s government work. What do you expect?
Remember when Tom Daschle and the Dems insisted that airport security be federalized?
‘Wouldn’t need one. It’s extremely difficult to get rid of employees in the UK. Conservatively, you’d need 6 months and records after records of “issues” with the follow up counciling.’
Really? I run two companies here in England and just fire people if they are breaking their contract or their work is poor. Never had a problem and never councilled them apart form warning them to not let the door hit them in the arse on the way out. I think you are confusing us with France or Germany, where what you say is true.
A private, members-only airline.
> The US has a Birmingham in Alabama, not Mississippi <
The Birmingham AL area was SUPPOSED to have been part of Mississippi.
Then in 1817, the U. S. Congress arbitrarily and capriciously cut “Alabama” out of Mississippi’s eastern lands.
(Some say ‘twas a gross injustice to the Magnolia State!)
“And youve never seen nonunion workers sleeping on the job?”
It didn’t take you long to switch from ‘them’s fighting words,’ to ‘yeah, but everyone else does it.’
training is one thing- actually doing the job is another...the NY airports I’ve mentioned lack compared to other airports I’ve flown to (MCO, Mobile, Ala)...
Yes, there is.
See, the thing is, a non-union worker would be fired. Not always the case with union workers.
We have somewhere north of 400 employees in Slough. When we decided to consolidate some functions in the US, we had to file a notice of intent 6 months ahead of time. We also had a number of problem employees that took over a year to fire for bad performance.
Exactly - better training won’t make any difference.
My hubby and children have gotten a big laugh out of this today. Really. Thanks!
It’s good to know that you were referring to the Birmingham in Mississippi. ROFLOL
Yes, the one that doesn’t exist. You did say that, didn’t you?
I’m a union member and I do my best to give my employers the work that they expect and what they are paying me to do. I see the same attitude in the men and women I work with.
Sometimes, through no fault of mine, or anyone else’s, there is nothing for me to do. I look for things to keep busy. I’m not always successful at finding them. I may nod off, especially when I’m on a twelve hour night shift.
If you haven’t had that experience, then you’re not qualified to judge me.
I’m still laughing about this story. We all know that you were talking about the Birmingham in Alabama. You didn’t know of a Birmingham, MS, until someone pointed it out. lol
The one in MS is but a spot on the map. Big time.
I Didn't say a word about you pal. I did cite my experience.
Reread the posts hon. Slowly if it helps.