GMB National Officer for Aviation Mick Rix appears on BBC News to discuss British Airways

Chief executive of British Airways there. Well Mick Rix is a National Officer for the GMB Union, he joins me live via webcam from Bridgeport in Dorset. You’ve been waiting some time, apologies for that, thank you and nice to talk to you. Right, okay, what do you make of what Mr. Cruz said. He said one thing that you’ve talked about – oh well jobs being exported on the IT side, he said redundancies are not at all to blame for this. Do you believe him? Well I believe that Mr. Cruz is a product of what people have been telling him. I wouldn’t expect a CEO to fully understand all the technical IT issues within a company, and BA’s IT issues are extremely complicated. Our understanding is, if there was a certain group of people that had not been dismissed last year – and their work had not been transferred to India – then actually the maintenance of that facility would not have taken place. I.e. the backup facility was supposed to kick in when the mainframe collapsed, and that is to ensure that the systems don’t fall over. So no, Mr.Cruz is not correct – people were dismissed last year from BA’s employment who were employed to maintain those facilities at that plant. So I don’t i don’t agree with Mr.Cruz. You can’t be sure, can you, that the people in India might have been just as competent, but they might have been overwhelmed by a systems failure? Well that that’s the issue. Outages are not uncommon, they do take place. But BA’s IT operations staff were that highly trained, they each practice for every eventuality. But since all these jobs have been lost through dismissal , because the work has been outsourced to India, there is no trials , there is no proofing, there’s no testing that is taking place. And very valuable staff who were employed by BA, who intrinsically knew every system of its operation, which actually keeps its planes in the skies, have been lost. There’s been a brain drain away from the company, and all because the company wants to save 91 million Euros by January 2019. Well this company, if it wants to produce those savings, it’s probably just spent them this weekend in the compensation that it’s got to repay the passengers that it’s caused misery to. There is a reality behind all this isn’t there? That the airline business is ferociously competitive, and BA along with all other carriers, is having to do a lot of things that a few years ago they might not have contemplated doing? Well, look at it relative… actually BA made £2 billion last year – and it made £1.5 billion the year before. This is a carrier that is making money, increasing passenger numbers, you know its targets to expand are taking place. This actually is about corporate greed. These orders have cuts staff numbers and also other services in BA came from BA’s owner IAG. It was IAG that has orded these cuts in numbers and these savings. And you know the savings that they projected that they were going to make, we told them at the time there could be serious problems with the IT systems if you go ahead with these job cuts. However, the executives said look we’re in charge of the business, it’s up to us to run the airline, and if we fail we take the consequences for it. Well actually they’ve failed. Mick Rix from the GMB Union, thank you very much.

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