Large-scale sackings of workers employed on the new airport and its related projects will be blamed on Government incompetence, it was revealed yesterday. After five months of hearings, members of the Legislative Council's manpower panel have concluded that mistakes by officials contributed to unrest on the huge infrastructure project. The troubles hit the headlines at the beginning of the year when 239 labourers imported from China to work on the airport terminal were dismissed by main contractor BCJ Joint Venture. It was followed by several similar incidents, culminating in the sacking of another 150 workers employed on the Tsing Yi airport railway station in May. Legislators have concluded that inaccurate assessments of the manpower needed to build the airport, lack of co-ordination between government departments and insufficient monitoring helped spark the sackings, a panel member said yesterday. Their findings, to be discussed by members today, will form the basis of a report into the troubles. It will include recommendations to avoid a repeat of the layoffs. 'We have found the most outstanding problem was the inaccurate manpower estimation,' the member said, claiming the Government had consistently overstated the number of workers needed. This eventually prompted the massive layoffs. 'We also found that government departments failed to co-ordinate with each other. For example, the Immigration Department just followed the quota size set by the Secretary for Education and Manpower when allocating workers to contractors. 'It did not look at the project independently to determine whether it needed such a large workforce.' Monitoring was also ineffective, he said, because the Labour Department insisted that contractors and sub-contractors be informed of an inspection before it took place. 'It was also its policy to let the contractors introduce workers for the inspectors to interview,' he said, meaning workers were unlikely to criticise their bosses for fear of being sacked. The report will be submitted to Legco's House Committee for endorsement before it is sent to the Government. The member said the panel did not intend to single out any departments or officials for blame, but hoped the Government would act on its recommendations. These included a call for the future vetting of labour applications for airport projects to be done by a body comprising employers, employees and government representatives. Legco also wants quotas to be strictly controlled so local workers are given priority for available jobs, the member said. 'These problems were compounded by the fact that the Government was the only party to map out and implement the labour importation policy. It was not subjected to independent monitoring,' he added.