The Identity and Passport Service has suffered a setback in its planned rollout of ID cards, in the form of a vote by the Trades Union Congress to resist the National Identity Scheme, “including consideration of legal action to uphold civil liberties”.
The motion states “”Congress sees absolutely no value in the scheme or in improvements to security that might flow from this exercise and feels that aviation workers are being used as pawns in a politically led process which might lead to individuals being denied the right to work because they are not registered or chose not to register in the scheme.”
IPS has already stated its intention to make airside workers register for ID cards as some of the first people to receive them under the provisions of the Act (the cards to be issued to foreign nationals in November this year are ID cards, but will be issued under the UK Borders Act rather than the Identity Cards Act). The idea of forcing them upon airport workers struck me as dangerous when it was first announced; there seems to be little benefit in issuing to that particular group first when they’re already subject to their own identifying credentials that work perfectly well; and more importantly whether or not they object to them, the initiative is a great bargaining tool for the unions to use against the Home Office.
It will be brave government that picks a fight with the TUC over this at a time when the leadership is under threat; my guess is we’ll see this idea fizzle out and another less powerful group of individuals will be selected for early adoption.