This article on blackenterprise.com from the Birmingham Post points out a conundrum for clients in outsourcing engagements. What happens when your service provider (say, IBM or HP) starts laying off staff? Will it affect the work you’ve contracted to them?
Surely, it will.
This situation arose in the UK when unionized employees working for a catering firm went out on strike last week, crippling its customer, British Airways, and stranding thousands of passengers. (No, it wasn’t just the lack of food and drink that brought business to a standstill; it was a combination of other groups also going out on strike in sympathy.) British Airways had spun off the catering operations into its own company, then hired the firm back to provide catering services.
What I find disingenuous about the whole affair is that the chairman of Gate Gourmet, the catering company, blames British Airways and its “inability to deal effectively with its own workforce now or in the past for the bad industrial relations climate at the company.” You’d think by that that the guy was talking about a company that had come into formation maybe a year ago. No. Gate Gourmet was sold off in 1997. By my math that’s eight years ago. Did Gate Gourmet have no opportunity in those eight years to repair bad relations with its employees?