Union fears up to 900 IT jobs at British Airways to be out-sourced to India
Date added: March 1, 2016
British Airways plans to off-shore many of its IT jobs to India, in a move to cut costs. Sites affected by the offshore outsourcing plan include BA Heathrow (700 redundancies projected at Waterside), BA Newcastle (100 redundancies projected) and other sites run by the airline. BA is transferring its “end-user” UK IT jobs to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in India. The GMB union says BA is also flouting visa rules,on rolling Tier 2 visas, which are meant to be for when employers want to internally move a member of staff from one post to another. John McDonnell attended a protest against the off-shoring plans, as many of the people to lose their jobs live in his constituency, in Hayes. BA staff are angry – GMB’s Mick Rix said: “BA’s reward for their colleagues’ loyalty is redundancy and to replace them with another company’s cheap labour brought in from abroad on dubious visas.” Despite the job cull, BA is enjoying huge profits by charging a “high price for a premium service” but wants to have the “cost base of a low cost carrier.” BA claims only about 200 UK jobs would be lost, and it employs around 35,000 people in the UK. This is yet another warning that the aviation is not a secure provider of jobs – and claims of job gains with airport expansion needed to be viewed with caution.
Protest over BA plans to outsource IT jobs to India
A protest is being held against plans by British Airways to outsource computer jobs to India.
1.3.2016 (Express and Star)
British Airways said it has been in consultation with about 200 IT staff
Members of the GMB union are staging a demonstration outside the airline’s head office at Heathrow.
The union says Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will need to carry out some work in the UK and will bring staff from India to fill the jobs.
Mick Rix, GMB national officer for aviation, said: “BA have recently announced huge profits and are a growing company.
“Gone are the days when a great British company, known globally as a superbrand, would be expected to behave in a responsible way to its workforce.
“BA’s reward for their colleagues’ loyalty is redundancy and to replace them with another company’s cheap labour brought in from abroad…”
IT services are now provided globally by a range of suppliers and this is very common practice across all industries and the UK Government.
A BA spokesman said: “A contract has been signed with TCS to be the supplier of some IT activities in British Airways, and British Airways has been in consultation with those IT staff affected, about 200.
“British Airways employs around 35,000 people in the UK, providing high-skilled and well-paid jobs. It hires 1,000 people a year and has a strong apprenticeship programme.”
Labour’s shadow chancellor will today join IT workers to protest against plans by British Airways to outsource and offshore up to 900 technology jobs to India.
John McDonnell will speak as MP for Hayes — where BA’s HQ at Waterside, Heathrow is located — and where the 45-minute protest against the cull will go ahead.
Organised by the GMB, the event is billed as a “public meeting” but also represents industrial action, as the union says some of BA’s affected techies will “walk” from their offices from 12.30.
Sites affected by the offshore outsourcing plan include BA Heathrow (700 redundancies projected), BA Newcastle (100 redundancies projected) and other sites run by the airline.
As well as opposing the outsourcing, which will see all BA’s “end-user” UK IT jobs exported to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in India, GMB is also accusing BA of flouting visa rules.
In fact, the union says BA has abused the rules on rolling Tier 2 visas, which are meant to be for when employers want to internally move a member of staff from one post to another.
Echoing the union’s concern, a Home Office-backed report says that possibly “at the expense of” UK IT workers, UK employers using Tier 2 may be “displacing and undercutting” them.
This potential “disadvantage” for Britons was found to most likely exist where the employer (the firm hosting the Tier 2), was involved with a third party or external contract or company.
“BA’s reward for their colleagues’ loyalty is redundancy and to replace them with another company’s cheap labour brought in from abroad on dubious visas,” says GMB’s Mick Rix.
“[We have] already raised the issue of abuse of Tier 2 visas for IT workers for BA, as the regulations currently in place are not designed for this practice.”
Rix added that despite the expected job cull, BA is enjoying huge profits by charging a “high price for a premium service” but wants to have the “cost base of a low cost carrier.”
However BA defended its offshore outsourcing plan, saying the provision of IT services globally was now a “very common practice.” It also disputes the number of IT jobs affected by the plan, which it says is more like 200.
A spokesperson for British Airways added: “A contract has been signed with TCS to be the supplier of some IT activities in British Airways, and British Airways has been in consultation with those IT staff affected”.
Asked if BA had a message to IT contractors who might be thinking of working at the company, the spokesperson said that BA provides “highly skilled and well-paid” opportunities, further to an apprenticeship scheme that takes in 1,000 people a year.
Hundreds of cabin crew at British Airways at Gatwick are being told to choose hefty pay cuts or redundancy despite the airline’s owners expecting to make more than €2.2bn (£1.6bn) in profits this year.
The most senior, longserving crew – cabin managers and pursers – were sent letters in the past few days telling them they would either have to accept new lower-paid roles as “customer service managers” by 14 September or lose their jobs on 31 October.
BA said the changes were intended to create a “sustainable and competitive” operation and that it was trying to minimise the financial impact on crew, after failing to agree a deal with their union, Unite.
Unite accused BA of “holding a gun” to employees, some of whom fear they would lose up to a quarter of their earnings under the new structure. The most senior crew, with more than 20 years’ experience, can earn £33,000, but the customer service manager salary is expected to be capped at about £24,000 before possible bonuses.
Cabin crew members who anonymously posted their stories online at the weekend claim they face pay cuts of up to £9,000 a year. Beyond their personal financial struggles, some query how the new structure would work on premium longhaul services without affecting customers.
A BAspokesperson said: “We have been consulting with the cabin crew trade union for 10 months on proposed changes to senior cabin crew roles at Gatwick so that we have an operation which is sustainable, competitive and crucially ensures we will deliver a great service to our customers.”
She added: “We’ve worked hard to give cabin crew a number of options that they can choose from and to minimise any financial impact.”
A consultative ballot held by Unite saw the airline’s proposals overwhelmingly rejected.
Crew at BA and sister company Iberia have seen significant cuts to pay and conditions in recent years. Cabin crew at BA went on strike at the turn of the decade but could not stop the creation of a new, lower-paid “mixed fleet” for new staff, while Iberia pilots and crew saw salaries and thousands of job cut, as IAG attempted to curb losses at the Spanish airline.
BA employs about 1,450 crew at Gatwick, and around 360 will be affected. The airline faces low-cost competition at Gatwick from EasyJet and Norwegian, which is attempting to undercut fares but has attracted controversy for its employment practices on its longhaul routes.