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No take-off for BA call centre outsourcing plans

Thursday, March 29, 2018

British Airways (BA) has cancelled plans to outsource hundreds of call centre jobs in the north of the UK and committed to investing millions of pounds in new technology, according to reports this week. Over 750 staff in Manchester and Newcastle will remain in place after BA and provider Capita failed to agree a deal “after nine months of talks” over taking on the airline’s global customer contact set-up, according to the Manchester Evening News.

BA’s chairman and chief exec, Alex Cruz, told the press that he was “pleased that following a very detailed review, we are planning to retain both of our long-standing UK call centres in Newcastle and Manchester… We have highly experienced and knowledgeable teams in both cities, and by modernising how we work as well as introducing new technology we can ensure we offer the very best service to our customers.”

The news was greeted with delight by trade union Unite, which referenced the current anti-outsourcing backlash in its response: “I think there is a new mood across business and other organisations in the UK that, following the recent Carillion debacle, outsourcing is not necessarily the best option if you wish to develop your business successfully,” said Unite officer Oliver Richardson.

BA also announced that it will keep 900 more staff in-house in centres in Germany, Hong Kong and India, but is also looking at setting up another centre in Cape Town which would be run by a third-party supplier.

“Capita is continuing to work with British Airways about elements of global customer contact transformation and support. This includes discussing a potential new contact centre site in Cape Town,” a Capita spokesperson said.

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