CALL center agents may get added protection if this law is passed.

The proposed law assures BPO workers of security of tenure and protection authored by Vice Mayor Edison Bilog with Arthur Allad-iw Leandro Yangot Jr. Joel Alangsab, Faustino Olowan and Benny Bomogao entitled “Protecting the Rights, welfare and safety of employees in the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector in the City of Baguio,” aiming to give added assurance to regular employees.

Bilog said a law was based on the case of employees from SITEL brought to the attention of the city alleging harassment and breeches in contract.

“While the IT-BPO sector may have given vast benefits in terms of employment for residents of Baguio, there is still a need to balance the legitimate business interests of this sector with the rights of its employees, there is then a need for legislations that will seek to protect the rights, welfare, and safety of employees in the IT-BPO sector.”

The new law adds to labor code provisions saying all employees have the right to be informed “Any waiver that affects the employment status of an employee should be explained by the employer. The employee shall be allowed to seek the assistance of a lawyer for him/her to understand the contents of said waiver before signing.”

Adding to protection of workers, the proposed law adds to the right to self-association providing “The employees’ exercise of their right related to lawful association or unionism shall never be a ground for removal from work.”

BPO firms have set up in the City at the central business district but also within the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) registered economic zones; the Baguio City Economic Zone, John hay Special Tourism Economic Zone, and SM City Cyberzone Building employing thousands.

Bilog said “The sector has employed more than 13,000 workers and it is already without question why said industry has already exceeded the tourism sector of the City in terms of how it is able to generate jobs not only for Baguio residents but as well as those from nearby provinces, cities, and municipalities.”

After the SITEL case was discussed months ago, a help desk at the Department of Labor and Employment for BPO’s specifically was seen to be one of the solutions.

The newly formed Sitel Philippines-Baguio Association of Rank and File [SPARK ] has widened its scope and has now included other call center agents and is now known as BIEN BPO Industry Employees Network [SPARK –BIEN]

Sitel during the inquiries admitted the redeployment program with the closure of three accounts but denied allegations of close to 1,000 losing their jobs asserting all who have chosen to undergo the program have been placed or have ongoing training for new accounts.

The dialog was made with the call of Allad-iw who invited representatives of the Sitel Philippines Corporation, the regional office of the Department Of Labor And Employment as well as employees of the company who have made the allegations to clarify once and for all the issue brought out.