350 Manchester jobs under threat in BA outsourcing plan

Some 350 jobs in Didsbury, Manchester are among 1,400 under threat as British Airways considers transferring 1,400 call centre posts to outsourcing specialist Capita.

As well as the Manchester jobs a further 750 in Newcastle could also be axed.

Capita says it has “entered a period of exclusive engagement with BA to explore forming a potential partnership to support its global customer contact operations”.

BA said: “To ensure we can offer the highest standards of service to customers, taking advantage of the latest developments in technology, we are conducting a review of our global call centre operations.

“As part of this review we are talking with Capita about the services they provide. We are looking for the best option for our customers. No decision has been made.”

Capita said that “no final decisions regarding the outcome of this engagement have been made.”

Reports in the Travel Trade Gazette say BA chief executive Alex Cruz is intent on cost-cutting at the airline, but may face a backlash if he tries to drive through outsourcing following the recent IT debacle which saw hundreds of flights cancelled and 75,000 passengers stranded.

Cruz has also attracted criticism for removing free food and drink from short-haul flights, decreasing legroom and making some long-haul aircraft seating 10-abreast instead of nine across.

Union GMB branded the airline “pennywise and pound-foolish”.

National officer Mick Rix said: “British Airways seems to want to become a virtual reality airline, with no employment responsibility, and this plan further degrades the value of work and what work means to staff and passengers alike.

“Despite record profits, this is the latest penny-wise and pound-foolish plan from IAG (International Airlines Group) and is consistent with those that led to the IT meltdown.
“Hard-working, loyal and dedicated GMB members are to be rewarded with the outsourcing of their jobs to the lowest price bidder.

“IAG appears to have learnt none of the lessons of the outsourcing and offshoring of hundreds of IT jobs which resulted in 75,000 passengers worldwide being stranded.”