Release date: 13/09/2010

After a bomb threat on an Air China flight at Sydney International airport, baggage handlers have said they are appalled after management told them to handle and screen a suspect bag. 

Transport Workers Union national secretary, Tony Sheldon said there were inadequate systems in place to handle the threat, and members found it frightening the police were not even called in to investigate.

“On the eve of the anniversary of September 11, the community, industry and workforce has been let down again by the people in charge of our aviation industry,” Mr Sheldon said.

“What do we have to do get our employers, industry leaders and government  put proper procedures in place to protect our safety? We shouldn’t actually have to see a bomb go off before there is action.
“Once again we are using 18th century techniques like putting a canary down the mineshaft to test the air – except in this case the testing agent is a person with a family.

“There needs to be a full audit of all procedures across the airport and industry by an independent agency. We want to see refresher training for frontline aviation industry workers and an inquiry into repeated failures of security in the aviation industry.

“We also need to ask why airlines, airports and governments have failure to implement recommendations of previous inquiries, including the Wheeler report, and action to reduce the caused by untrained and unscreened outside contractors.
“On top of this, we need Qantas to ensure their workforce is thoroughly trained – in February we saw WorkCover criticize the company after it found there had not been fire drills on the ground for years. 

“Delegates of the Transport Workers Union are meeting over the next 72 hours and will be discussing a list of demands to be put to Qantas – we want action,” Mr Sheldon said.

Media reports:

Qantas 'breached' security

Baggage handler not told of bag bomb threat

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