Union blames BA job cuts for airport chaos
The GMB union has suggested that the British Airways computer systems failure, which has caused chaos at airports this weekend, was "another example of the shortcomings of BA IT systems since they made a number of staff redundant and outsourced their work to India in 2016."
GMB members work in nearly all industrial sectors, in retail, security, schools, distribution and the utilities, social care, the NHS and ambulance service and local government.
Mick Rix, GMB national officer for aviation is reported as saying, "BA made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India. BA have made substantial profits in for a number of years, and many viewed the company's actions as just plain greedy".
BA's response is that its IT services are now provided globally by a range of suppliers and this is very common practice across all industries and the UK government.
The simple fact is that in many sectors IT is being used to reduce the number of staff employed. Airports are increasing looking at technology and automation to streamline operations.
Passengers are used to buying tickets and checking in using their computers, What they don't realise is that many of the the tasks behind the scenes now use technology instead of employing humans. Baggage handling, for example, relies very heavily on computers, machines and conveyor belts to do the work these days. IT is also essential in freight handling and would be used to calculate the load and how much fuel is needed.
The current IT problems have also affected communication with passengers, who have complained about having no idea what was going on.
On Sunday the media showed pictures of people in purple T-shirts offering assistance and a person with a supermarket trolley handing out bottles of water to passengers stranded in Terminal Five. It would be interesting to know if these people were volunteers or had been taken away from other jobs in the airport. The person pushing the water trolley looked as miserable as the passengers.
Many passengers with no prospect of a flight were told they'd have to arrange their own accommodation or sleep on the floor. They would have welcomed some help as local hotels were reported to have increased rates to up to £2,500 per room per night.
Gatwick, a much smaller airport, had resolved most of its problems on Sunday, unlike Heathrow.
Travellers and observers have been left with a very poor impression of Heathrow, BRITAIN's biggest airport and BRITISH Airways, the country's biggest airline. There is little chance that any sensible person would promote a third runway at Heathrow when the airport is unable to cope with the number of passengers using two.