Group wants check on ‘bankrupt’ BPO firm

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


THE Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (Iccaw) has urged the Mandaue City Government and the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) to find out why a call center was able to reopen business in Mandaue when they closed shop in Cebu City allegedly without paying employees’ benefits.

Iccaw director Sylvio Dorig and Cordia Philippines former sales operations manager Era Gimarino said Cordia owners allegedly violated the law by filing a petition for bankruptcy in court without settling their obligations to their employees. They closed last October.

As a result, more than 400 Cordia employees were allegedly not paid their benefits.

Cordia reportedly reopened in Ibabao-Estancia in Mandaue under a new name, Geils Communications.

Earlier, Direct Access call center suddenly closed shop in July 2012, leaving about 600 workers jobless and without benefits.

Dorig, who used to work at Direct Access, said they thanked Director Edmund Mirasol of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and Partido nga Manggagawa (PM) for helping them in organizing Iccaw.

Gimarino said a few months after Cordia in Cebu City stopped operations, Cordia Philippines reopened in Mandaue City under its new name.

He said Cordia has the same owners and clients, among them a telecommunications company. (The company’s name is withheld pending their comment.)

PM spokesman Dennis Derige said the telecommunications company must review its transactions with Cordia to find out if the business process outsourcing (BPO) firm has not violated the labor laws.

“This telephone company may have a code of conduct and may they review their transactions with Cordia in the spirit of corporate social responsibility,” Derige said.

Cordia Philippines, Gimarino said, is providing international direct dialing service to the telecom firm.

Victoria dela Peña, vice president of the Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund), said that based on their initial inquiry, Cordia closed shop in Cebu City and reopened in Mandaue City and registered eight employees.

Dela Peña said that Pag-Ibig will collect premiums from Cordia Philippines, which are due their former employees.

A document made available online showed that Cordia filed for bankruptcy before the United States Bankruptcy Court of the Middle District of Florida on May 16, 2011. The company listed telemarketing and services agreement of its offices at Asiatown IT Park among its executory contracts and unexpired leases.

Meanwhile, the headquarters of Geils Communications, which offers telecommunications services, is located in Hellertown, Pennsylvania in the United States, according to its website.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 27, 2013.

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