GMB BA workers to fight transfer of IT jobs to Tata India

BA cabin crew during their strike against the imposition of a new wage-cutting contract
BA cabin crew during their strike against the imposition of a new wage-cutting contract

GMB British Airways workers will hold a public meeting and rally from 12.30pm on Monday 29th February at the Thistle Hotel, Heathrow, against proposals to outsource the company’s IT end user computing jobs to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in India.

Members will make the short walk from BA HQ at Waterside to the meeting in protest against the outsourcing and offshoring of work to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in India.

TCS will need to carry out work in the UK and they will bring workers from India to fill the jobs of the ex-BA workers. GMB is accusing them of abusing the current visa regulations regarding rolling Tier 2 visas.

John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes & Labour and Shadow Chancellor, will be speaking along with GMB national officer for aviation, Mick Rix at the event, which takes place at 12.30-13.15pm, Monday 29th February, Longford Suite, Thistle Hotel, Heathrow, UB7 0EQ.

Mick Rix, GMB national officer for aviation, said yesterday: ‘GMB members at British Airways will be making the short walk from BA HQ at Waterside, in protest at the company plans to outsource and offshore work to a company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in India.

‘BA have recently announced huge profits, and are a growing company. The affected job losses at Heathrow in West London is around 700 people, and around 100 in Newcastle and other locations.

‘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 on dubious visas.

‘GMB has 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. BA still want customers to pay a high price for a premium service, with a cost base of a low-cost carrier.’

On 13th January, GMB representatives met MPs in the House of Commons and called on them to make representations to British Airways (BA) over its plans to outsource its 900 specialist IT jobs to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

In December the GMB wrote to the Migration Advisory Committee and Home Office asking them to clampdown on abuse of tier 2 visas by BA and TCS following the outsourcing of the jobs.

There are around 900 jobs at risk, with BA IT colleagues based at various locations in the UK, at BA Headquarters at Waterside in Harmondsworth, West London, BA’s call centre in Newcastle, and at other locations in Manchester, Cardiff and Scotland. Mick Rix said: ‘GMB asked for a meeting at a senior level with BA at the end of last year.

‘This was to discuss matters of concern to members in private about reports that safety and security lapses apparently took place on BA work already undertaken by TCS. BA regrettably declined to meet.

‘There are many serious matters of concern with the company proposal, not least the devastating economic impact these job losses will have on GMB members, their families and the communities where they live.

‘There are also concerns relating to the continued security of the airline operations, UK national security, along with flights intended for the US. BA IT staff carry out important reporting work to the UK Home Office and the US Federal authorities on required national security matters, regarding passenger and cargo lists for flights coming into and out of the UK and for flights destined to the US.

‘It is a shame that BA did not want to meet us privately where we could have discussed information we have obtained. I would have preferred to have had those discussions in private. We are faced with no other option due to BA’s failure to meet with senior GMB officials that we intend to brief and advise MPs on our concerns.

‘GMB believe these latest developments should worry MPs and the government that UK security interests are being handed over glibly to a foreign national company. I find it incredible and of serious concern that in these times of very heightened security measures, due to the threat by terrorists to civil aviation flights, that the transfer of important national security reporting work, currently operated by BA IT staff, is to be offshored to TCS in India, so that BA and IAG can save a couple of bucks.

‘As things stand members employed in the IT department at British Airways are to be replaced with workers recruited in India and flown into the UK on tier 2 visas.’