Fears stand-in firefighters at strike-hit Scots airports lack proper experience

© AlamyRegular fire crews train at Glasgow airport
Regular fire crews train at Glasgow airport

Fresh concerns have been raised over safety standards among staff standing in for striking workers at Scottish airports.

Fears have been raised that stand-in firefighting crews providing cover during industrial action at Glasgow and Aberdeen airports have no aviation experience.

Unions claim the relief crews’ inexperience led to fire appliances being parked too close to plane taxi-ways and being involved in near-misses with jets.

The new row follows our revelations that contingency staff manning security X-ray scanners missed hundreds of potentially lethal items while checking baggage at both airports on strike days.

Hundreds of replacement staff were drafted in last month to fill in for striking workers. They included firefighters from a multinational company called Falck. Union Unite wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority last month expressing concern over its “understanding that Falck has no UK-based firefighters with aviation experience”.

It added further concerns over compliance with “fire service training”.

Walkouts planned at Glasgow were called off last week as hopes grew of a resolution to the dispute over pay and a final-salary pension scheme. Managers said they had tabled an improved offer.

A ballot on a proposed deal is under way and due to close on Tuesday.

The dispute at Aberdeen has ended after staff accepted the company’s offer.

Falck referred The Sunday Post to airport management for comment.

A spokesman for AGS Airports, which owns Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, said: “We have maintained safe, compliant and fully operational airports throughout the periods of industrial action.

“We operate in what is a highly regulated environment and all of our contingency teams are trained and certified to the same exacting UK standards as our own staff. Falck is the world’s largest supplier of fire and medical services and its contingency staff being used by AGS Airports have extensive aviation experience.”

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