GMB union asks for seat on BA IT outage inquiry

GMB, the aviation union, has asked to be allowed to contribute to the inquiry into the reasons for the BA IT outage.

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The union has also asked for a moratorium on BA plans to outsource the jobs of a further 600 direct employed BA IT jobs.

Yesterday, a whistleblower told the Press Association that BA had been hit by power outages in the past, and a serious fire 20 years ago, but the system was protected by its experienced IT personnel.

The Whistleblower told the PA that 600 IT jobs had been lost since March last year, with work being outsourced to India. “We have been warning that to rip out the knowledge and experience from what is a very complex IT estate would have serious consequences in terms of long-term maintenance of the system as well as any recovery from any hiccups,” stated the whistleblower.

The GMB is asking that the union be represented on the BA inquiry

“GMB welcomes BA’s commitment to an independent investigation and it is only right and proper that GMB has a seat on that inquiry to ensure that the information and views from our skilled IT members on the front line is properly put forward, and taken on board by BA IAG,” stated Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for Aviation, “National Grid has been explicit that there were no power issues at Heathrow over the weekend, whilst BA contends that the ‘problem’ was solely down to power. clarification of these blurred positions must be a key part of the inquiry.”

An email to BA staff from IT chief Bill Francis, states that the cause of the outage was that a UPS at BA’s Heathrow data centre over-ridden.

“This resulted,” said Francis, “in the total immediate loss of power to the facility, bypassing the backup generators and batteries. This in turn meant that the controlled contingency migration to other facilities could not be applied After a few minutes of this shutdown of power, it was turned back on in an unplanned and uncontrolled fashion, which created physical damage to the system, and significantly exacerbated the problem. The fix consisted of physically replacing servers that had been damaged, then bringing all of BA’s 700-plus applications back online in a controlled fashion while ensuring that all data was consistent across the system.”

According to the Daily Mail, the person who turned the system back on again in ‘an unplanned and uncontrolled fashion’ was a single worker employed by a BA IT contractor called CBRE Global Workplace Solutions.

 


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