News : Call Center Workers Demand Labor Reforms in BPO Industry
Manila, Jan 15, 2014 -- Following the closure of a BPO company in Cebu City, an association of call center workers on Wednesday demanded reforms in the industry to protect labor rights.
"We are for a stable BPO industry so that we can have regular jobs that provide decent salaries and benefits but this cannot happen if the requirements and criteria for operating a call center company are so relaxed," said Rosie Hong of the Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW) in a news release.
"ICCAW is in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Leadamorphosis. We are enraged that a call center company closes down then runs away from its obligations. We attribute this problem to lack of strong state regulation of the BPO industry," she added.
Hong’s statement was in reaction to the closure of Leadamorphosis.
Some 100 Leadamorphosis employees picketed their office building in downtown Cebu in protest of the illegal closure and non-payment of salaries. They then trooped to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) to file cases against the BPO management.
ICCAW will attend an industrial tripartite council meeting together with representatives of the DOLE and BPO employers to demand a swift resolution to the Leadamorphosis labor dispute.
"For a start, we demand that BPO companies be required to post cash bonds equivalent to one month of salaries and benefits of its total workforce," Hong said.
The bond requirement was proposed but was not enacted at the height of the hasty shutdown of another Cebu City-based BPO company called Direct Access that left some 600 employees with unpaid wages, commissions, overtime pay, and separation benefits.
ICCAW proposes stricter government regulation of the BPO industry, including guidelines on requirements in setting up call centers. A strict implementation of these guidelines will help reduce fly-by-night centers that are not financially equipped to run the business and do not respect labor rights, it said.
"We want a BPO company to be a better place to work in, but if the occupational health of employees are compromised, this industry will instead be a time bomb just waiting to explode. ICCAW aims to be a voice and advocate for call center and BPO workers so that the 600,000 employees in the industry who are entirely unorganized can enjoy protection," Hong said.
ICCAW is also calling for industry-wide standards for wages, benefits, and entitlements that must be well above the minimum mandated by law and commensurate to the profitable dollar-earning nature of the call center industry.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Leadamorphosis is a leads generation company operating from the heart of Cebu City, Philippines.
Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014