back to article British Airways, IT staff job cuts, an outsourcing biz ... you get the point

Techies working at British Airways are staging a protest at the airline's corporate HQ over plans to outsource and offshore work to Tata Consultancy Services. According to the GMB trade union, which is organising a 15-minute walk from the corporation’s head office in West London to a local hotel on 29 February, all 900 of BA’s …

  1. MyffyW Silver badge

    In all the hoo-ha about Polish plumbers (who I, for one, welcome to this green and pleasant land, especially if they can fix the downstairs loo), we have allowed the issue of "landed" IT resource to ride too long.

    Love and hugs to the GMB, though I suspect it will be as successful as that time I spent a penny on top of Blencathra.

    1. KeithR

      "I suspect it will be as successful as that time I spent a penny on top of Blencathra."

      That's what's called "getting your own back", I believe...

    2. M.Zaccone

      Are you a PM ?

      " if they can fix the downstairs loo"

      Unless you are physically unable to do so , if you cannot fix something as simple as your own toilet then you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer in any kind of professional capacity. It's down there with wiring a plug or a patch cable in terms of difficulty. I've built ikea bookcases that were more difficult than changing the syphon on our bog.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Have you tried calling BA Customer Services lately? That has now apparently been outsourced to Mumbai, Luton, Bradford, or some similar part of the world...

      The agent I got recently managed to cancel my airmiles booking when I wanted him to change the date. And it takes up to 2 weeks to credit back the airmiles! As I was on a foreign island at the time fortunately someone in BA London was able to fix it on escalating.

      I look forward to similar with their IT services if this goes ahead...

  2. tiesx150

    Went through a similar situation at my workplace. Welcome to 21st Century IT. Outsourcing purely to reduce costs generally works, but like with most things, cheaper means lower quality.

    If you pay peanuts, you WILL get monkeys.

    Outsourcing has its place and if done correctly works very well. In situations where the decision to outsource for purely financial reasons (bean-counter bonuses) it normally ends up being a complete fail.

    1. KeithR

      "Outsourcing has its place and if done correctly works very well."

      Cite 5 convincing examples.

      1. Number6

        Have there been as many as five?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There goes the BA website (and everything else)

    Once you let a 100 people all called Paul loose on it.

    Sad to see that happening. It ain't always cheaper in the long run to ship the jobs to India.

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Re: There goes the BA website (and everything else)

      > It ain't always cheaper in the long run to ship the jobs to India.

      Wot? I have yet to see ONE example where such outsourcing leeds to actual cost reduction (not just book keeping trickery) and keeping the quality.

      The majority of "outsourcing to India" I have seen led to no cost reduction and to quality so deep in caca land you wouldn't believe unless you actually had dealt with those "specialists".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what I have come to expect from BA - keeping up their Bad Attitude nickname!

    BA have been cutting corners for years - you can see it every time you fly with them.

    Their executive club is sh1t - devalued so much so with availability for avios flights that is so appauling nobody can use their points properly.....

    The contracted cleaners leave aircraft seats unclean - OFTEN and outside of T5, the lounges are rather pathetic. Even in T5, unless you are gold/1st class, then its just okay.....the last 3 or 4 long-haul flights Ive been on have had a toilet or two out for the entire journey and they are relying on minimum cabin-crew staffing. Cabin crew also seem to be messed around quite a bit and many though they love the job, on chatting to them, cant stand the way BA has behaved toward them....

    If you make any changes to your ticket and pay BA directly, it takes them >6weeks to get a reciept to you.....

    Its an absolute mess at present...the whole company....outsourcing it, particuarly the IT folks is just going to make it worse!

    How long before BA is losing so many pax to Virgin or other airlines because its cr@p and expensive with absolutely no customer service ?

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: This is what I have come to expect from BA - keeping up their Bad Attitude nickname!

      I have noticed a trend for one or two of the lavatories to be out of order during flights on several airlines. I suspect it is cost cutting by reducing cleaning costs and, more importantly, turn round times. The "out of order" lavatories are clean and can be used on the return flight.

      I don't fly often enough to make a study and come to a significant conclusion. Anyone know if I am correct?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Mayday, Mayday, this is BA flight 6924 from Heathrow, our systems have failed and we are going to crash"

    "Hello sir. My name is Dave, how can I help you today?"

    "Our systems have completely failed and we are going to crash, Mayday"

    "Ok sir, from your bug report I can see that your systems have failed, is that correct?"

    "We are going down, please help us"

    "Ok sir, what I am going to need you to do, do you see a button which says 'Restart'?"

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Outsourcing: fuck, yeah.

      Actual conversation with our best man[TM] there.

      He: "We could not run test. Does not work."

      Me: "What do you mean 'Does not work'".

      He: "Does not run!"

      Me: "How far did it run?"

      He: "Stopped."

      Me: "Where did it stop? What's on the screen."

      He: "BIOS."

      Me: "What do you see?"

      He: "Press any key to continue."

      Me: "Please press a key and tell me what what you see."

      He: "Now working!"

      Me: [click] "AAAAaaaaaarghhh!!!!!"

      I did call him because the test (certification) was 24 hours overdue. Best man[TM] did quit to join another company paying a few bucks more only weeks later. Phone calls with the rest of the bunch were essentially impossible, "let's continue this via email" my standard phrase when insanity crept up. But, HEY, they were cheap!

  6. s. pam

    Basically Airworthy (just)

    I've flown just shy of 3M miles in the last 20 years with B/A and their brand cachet is lower than A/A in the US. Which is not an admirable position to be in.

    You see it everywhere except their shiny check in at LHR. Run down planes, short staff, screw the loyal Exec Club members, lowered quality in their lounges.

    I have a new motto for them "BA, nothing special in the air" and that's not a compliment I promise you. The cruddy part is what is a business traveller living near LHR or LGW to do? Getting anywhere in Europe and not spending 2++ hrs in a taxi or driving the M4/M25/M23 means LHR. Or, G*d forbid that hell hole called LGW!

    Sorry for the rant but I'm f-a-r from alone in these views. I'm not surprised their outsourcing their staff to our Commonwealth cousins. When it all goes then they'll realise the end is near for them as a carrier.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Basically Airworthy (just)

      I've flown about 1.5 million miles over the past 15 years with various airlines and I gave up on BA completely about ten years ago. I fly back to the UK 2-3 times a year and after the third instance where BA left me stranded or cancelled my ticket after a late connection I stopped dealing with them. I was never impressed by their service in the air and I think they ride a lot on the international perception that Brits are polite and good at service (hah!)

      I'd estimate that they have lost £20-30,000 in revenue from me over the past decade, but I'm sure they don't care.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. KeithR

        Re: Basically Airworthy (just)

        "the international perception that Brits are polite and good at service (hah!)"

        They are - but you DO come across as a bit of a smug, self-important git, which might explain their reaction to you...

    2. KeithR

      Re: Basically Airworthy (just)

      "short staff"

      Unless that means the pilot is too little to see out of the window, does that matter?


  7. Anonymous Coward

    Explosions in the air?

    I guess the in-flight meal option will now be chicken curry or beef curry?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Explosions in the air?

      No, chicken curry or vegetarian curry.

      (Just flown BOS-LHR-BOS on BA. Short notice. Had worse on other cheap-regular carriers.).

    2. SunBoy

      Re: Explosions in the air? has to be something with egg.....have you not noticed the standard selection is egg mayo or chicken mayo sandwiches these days ?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "According to the GMB trade union"

    IT staff in a union?! I knew BA was old fashioned and dated, but wow.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TCS are shit

    You have been warned

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like standard operating procedure for IT gigs these days

    1. Fire all the people who know how the system works.

    2. Replace them with third worlders that haven't got a clue.

    3. Re-hire a large majority of the original work force as private consultants on 10 times the pay to fix the ensuing carnage.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've seen first hand what TCS are like.

    They will try to list everything you do, instead of trying to understand what you do.

    They will fire any workers tupe'd over to them, after 3 months & say that "their own" people are more efficient.

    Everything will go tits up or grind to a halt.

    They will not re-hire any previous employee's but just throw more bodies at problems until they are fixed/forgotten about, usually the latter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      HCL did the same at Dixons, complete fail... I really dont understand how anyone in senior management can do this and expect anything to be delivered afterwards.

  12. Number6

    So the IT department is about to say Ta-ta to all the jobs?

    Icon is unfortunately appropriate on more than one level.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Tata Consultancy is an Indian IT service

    "Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) is an Indian multinational information technology (IT) service"

    OH, jezus god help us :)

  14. circusmole

    I see many entries... complaining about BAs quality/level of service/whatever... I agree with most of them. However, I fly regularly (about 3-4 times per year) to the USA from the UK and I have used Delta/AA/BA and Virgin and I must say they are all much of a muchness these days. Many of their aircraft look clapped out and are never cleaned very well, there seems to be fewer and fewer cabin crew as time goes past, the attitude of cabin crew quite often leaves much to be desired, punctuality is usually dire (they are nearly always late leaving/arriving), the food is now almost reached the state of being unsuitable for human consumption... I could go on. The fact of the matter is that nearly all (all?) major airlines are crap these days, so as consumers we have to just suck it up and live with it - it's now a fact of life.

  15. Lars Silver badge

    Oh dear Brits

    I had a read trough previous comments and there was important stuff like the lavatory and some surprised stuff like Tata not British. But not a word about the trade union, how damned stupid did Thatcher make you. Do you really think mooning on ElReg makes any difference, is all American stupidity due to you Brits.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stop buying shares in these companies. Nobody makes any real money (apart from the massive share holders ie. the CEO/CIO etc) and the CEO/CIO use the "what about the shareholders" line to outsource in order to reduce costs so that the piddly dividend you own goes up. Stop buying shares !!

  17. Securitymoose

    When the bank crashed, we couldn't get to our money

    When the same things happen to an airline because some outsourced dude misses out a line of the step-by-step instructions he has been given, we can expect more than just computers to crash - I don't think I'll be flying BA in the four weeks after the handover (or ever again for that matter).

  18. Anonymous Coward

    And Fail IT did, Spectacularly

    Useless fucking airline run by idiots

    Commentards on the Reg told you it would screw up, Ha Ha.

  19. Julian Garrett

    What an absolute fucking ballsup

    CEO may have his bonus snipped 5% this year as a result.

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