Group demands BPO reforms

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013


TO commemorate the anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, the Inter-Call Center Association of Workers-Partido ng Manggagawa (ICCAW-PM) demanded change and reform in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

ICCAW-PM, which is composed of call agents of Direct Access, was organized last year after their foreign employers abruptly shut down the company and left them without jobs.

The workers’ union is registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).

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As they called for reform in the BPO industry, they expressed support for the struggle of the call agents of Cordia Philippines, which was also closed last year by its
American owner allegedly without paying their salaries and benefits.

“We found ourselves in this same situation before and it is the very reason why ICCAW-PM was established. It is disheartening to know that call center companies can abruptly shut down and leave their employees with no pay and without jobs,” read the group’s statement.

“But what enrages us is when a call center company closes down, runs away from its obligations but then easily opens up a new company of the same nature and with the same clients,” the statement further read.

ICCAW-PM also asked candidates running in the May 13, 2013 elections to make workers demands part of their platform.

“If our so-called democracy is not just all form but has substance, then the demands of the majority of the people must be met by those seeking the mandate of the voters.

We have yet to see many of them respond to the urgent demands of the workers and poor aside from motherhood statements,” read the ICCAW-PM press statement.

PM spokesman Dennis Derige said that one of the demands of ICCAW-PM that should be included in the candidates’ platform is stricter government regulations on BPO.

He said the guidelines on requirements to set up call centers must be put in place and strictly implemented. This will reduce fly-by-night centers that are not financially equipped to run the business and does not respect labor rights.

The second concern is to stop contractualization of call center agents. Denying workers security of tenure means denying them their benefits, entitlement, dignity and stability, Derige said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 26, 2013.

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