‘Have agenda for BPO workers’

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - December 29, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Labor partylist Partido Manggagawa yesterday asked presidential candidates to spell out each of their agenda for business process outsourcing (BPO) workers.

It issued the challenge after PM and the group Inter-Call Center Association of Workers came across five call centers with a total of more than a thousand workers that “illegally” shutdown in the last four years.

The five includes Eziconnect Philippines in Mandaue City, whose workers went to the Department of Labor and Employment-7 office last week for help.

In a statement, PM-Cebu spokesperson Dennis Derige said that it is not all sunshine in the BPO industry, as there is actually a “dark side” to the call center sector.

The government, he said, must therefore use its “force” to ensure the protection of workers in the BPO industry.

“Is there a presidentiable brave enough to be a Jedi to safeguard peace and justice for call center workers?” Derige said, in obvious allusion to the top-grossing Star War’s movie currently showing in cinemas around the world.

He said PM is advocating strict government regulation of the BPO industry to weed out fly-by-night companies that are not financially equipped to run the business on the long term and does not respect labor rights.

The partylist group is also calling for industry-wide standards for wages, benefits and entitlements, which must be well above the minimum mandated by law and commensurate to the profitable dollar-earning nature of the call center industry.

In the same statement, ICCAW also said they aim to be a voice for call center and BPO workers so that the almost a million employees in the industry can enjoy government protection.

Earlier, PM called for the government to require BPOs to put up a bond for workers claims in case of sudden or illegal closure.

The group is demanding that call centers set up a bond equivalent to two months wages of all employees they intend to hire for use later on to defray unpaid salaries, benefits and separation pays.

Eziconnect Philippines is the latest call center company in Cebu that shut down last December 21 reportedly without due notice, leaving its 30 employees with unpaid wages, and without 13th month pay and separation benefits.

Derige said its owner, Australian rugby player and Fox Sports commentator Rodney Kafer, has not communicated with the workers about the company’s obligations.

Derige recalled that some 120 workers of Leadamorphosis, another call center in Cebu that “illegally shutdown” a week after New Year’s Day in 2014, won a  P36-million award from the National Labor Relations Commission but have yet to receive a centavo from its owner in the USA. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC CALL CEBU CENTER DENNIS DERIGE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT DERIGE EZICONNECT PHILIPPINES FOX SPORTS INTER-CALL CENTER ASSOCIATION OF WORKERS WORKERS
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